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Climate change and moral judgement

Abstract

Converging evidence from the behavioural and brain sciences suggests that the human moral judgement system is not well equipped to identify climate change — a complex, large-scale and unintentionally caused phenomenon — as an important moral imperative. As climate change fails to generate strong moral intuitions, it does not motivate an urgent need for action in the way that other moral imperatives do. We review six reasons why climate change poses significant challenges to our moral judgement system and describe six strategies that communicators might use to confront these challenges. Enhancing moral intuitions about climate change may motivate greater support for ameliorative actions and policies.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by the National Science Foundation GRFP under grant number DGE-0829517.

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Correspondence to Ezra M. Markowitz.

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Markowitz, E., Shariff, A. Climate change and moral judgement. Nature Clim Change 2, 243–247 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1038/nclimate1378

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