Oxford meeting on climate change ethics

Blackfriars Hall, 17 November 2007


Professor Chris Rapley, Director of the Science Museum:

“Urban people are far more vulnerable to climate change than the rural poor.  We are specialised to a very narrow niche and utterly dependent on fuel, shops, electricity, etc.  They are much tougher and more flexible”.

“Scientific consensus is a very weak argument.  There are people with a strong interest in promoting CONFUSION.  The precautionary principle is the strongest card we hold.  Even a risk of planetary calamity demands urgent action since the stakes are so high”.

“In the USA especially, there are very powerful vested interests whose chief product is DOUBT.  So perhaps we should be talking more about the EVIL of climate change denial”.

“Energy is a fleeting BY-PRODUCT of burning fossil fuels; carbon gases are the REAL product”.

Professor Celia Deane-Drummond, Chester University:

“The problem is a near-universal breakdown in relationships.  A new category of SIN is needed – anthropogenic sin”.

Sister Margaret Atkins OSA:

“To live a good life, you have to become eccentric”.

“We should be talking about VIRTUES, not actions, effects and goals.  As an individual you can’t be responsible for it ALL: you need a practical understanding of virtue and then TRUST everyone else”.

“The key distinction to make is between DECENT SUFFICIENCY and LUXURY”.

John Howell, New Zealand Environmental Council:

“Labelling of packets in supermarkets is not going to work.  We should judge between supermarkets according to the VIRTUE of their entire supply chain”.

Dr Edward P. Echlin:

“The key to sustainability is LOCAL.  Always follow the proximity principle in everything you buy.”

“Carbon off-setting is the equivalent of buying indulgences”.

Ruth Jarman, Christian Ecology Link:

“Humanity needs to GROW UP.  How will we explain what happened to children in a POST-TIPPING POINT world?”

Revd Dr Michael Northcott, University of Edinburgh:

“Palm oil is in two-thirds of all the food we buy in the UK”.

“NEOLIBERALISM involves sacrificing to false gods”.

“You can’t trade the Earth, and you can’t trade the future”.