Thursday, May 30, 2013

Experts push ethical case for climate adaptation policies

David Dickson in The strong ethical case for governments and individuals to help communities adapt to the threats of climate change — on top of purely practical or political factors — is emphasised in a report by the top UN committee responsible for monitoring science ethics.

Climate adaptation policies need to acknowledge and express ethical principles already enshrined in international agreements, according to the report approved yesterday (29 May) by the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST) at a meeting in Bratislava, Slovakia.

Such principles include the need to avoid causing unnecessary harm, to treat all individuals fairly and to provide equitable access to a decent standard of living, says the commission, which operates under the auspices of UNESCO (the UN Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization).

The principles also include the need to recognise the right to access and benefit from scientific information, which could strengthen poorer developing countries' demands for access to climate data obtained by richer nations using complex or expensive monitoring equipment.

"The report sets out what anyone who is involved in policymaking on climate change adaptation should be responsible for," said Rainier Iban[ez], chair of the philosophy department of the Ateneo de Manila University in the Philippines, as well as of the COMEST working group on environmental ethics, which produced the report....

A photo of Edward Onslow Ford's statue of Justice, part of a monument to the Maharajah of Mysore

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