2021 Alan Saunders Lecture

Stephen Gardiner

Climate Crisis & Institutional Denialism:

Is it Time for a Global Constitutional Convention for the Young & Other Future Generations?

We have reached crunch time for the climate. In this talk, I outline our predicament and propose a solution. In my view, climate change is a profound ethical challenge, and new institutions are needed to address it. I call the ethical challenge ‘a perfect moral storm’, and argue that, sadly, current climate strategies, including the Paris Agreement, are inadequate to meet it. Part of the reason for this failure is the inadequacy of existing institutions, but surprisingly, most discussion of solutions ignores this fundamental fact. My aim is to confront this institutional denialism directly. I argue for a global constitutional convention for the future, akin to the American constitutional convention of 1787, which gave rise to the present structure of government in the United States. This deliberative forum would confront the serious “governance gap” that currently exists surrounding concern for the young and other future generations. Moreover, the “obvious” objections are not as compelling as one might think.

Professor of Philosophy and Ben Rabinowitz Endowed Professor of the Human Dimensions of the Environment at the University of Washington, Seattle, where he is also the Director of the Program on Ethics. Areas of specialisation: applied ethics, climate change, environment, ethics, Greek (classical), human rights and political philosophy. Stephen’s current research focuses on global environmental problems (especially climate change), future generations, and virtue ethics.

A live streamed event, this lecture is also recorded by the ABC & available for download after the event.

Broadcast Monday 16 August, 8 pm on RN’s ‘Big Ideas’, and available as a podcast.

©Australasian Association of Philosophy
ACN 152 892 272 ABN 29 152 892 272
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