Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future

Reason in a Dark Time: Why the Struggle Against Climate Change Failed — and What It Means for Our Future, by Dale Jamieson ($24.89 hb)

darktimeAmazon:  From the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to the 2009 Copenhagen Climate Conference there was a concerted international effort to stop climate change. Yet greenhouse gas emissions increased, atmospheric concentrations grew, and global warming became an observable fact of life.

In this book, philosopher Dale Jamieson explains what climate change is, why we have failed to stop it, and why it still matters what we do. Centered in philosophy, the volume also treats the scientific, historical, economic, and political dimensions of climate change. Our failure to prevent or even to respond significantly to climate change, Jamieson argues, reflects the impoverishment of our systems of practical reason, the paralysis of our politics, and the limits of our cognitive and affective capacities. The climate change that is underway is remaking the world in such a way that familiar comforts, places, and ways of life will disappear in years or decades rather than centuries.

Climate change also threatens our sense of meaning, since it is difficult to believe that our individual actions matter. The challenges that climate change presents go beyond the resources of common sense morality — it can be hard to view such everyday acts as driving and flying as presenting moral problems. Yet there is much that we can do to slow climate 

“An invaluable contribution to the dialogue about how to minimize the inevitable social and environmental devastation that looms large in our future.”
— Booklist 
“Dale Jamieson is a philosopher and a realist. He was been working on climate change for a quarter of a century, alongside both scientists and policy makers. He argues that we are heading down a dangerous road and will likely have to face a much more difficult world. But he also argues that there is so much we can do individually and collectively to make a difference, and warns that the best must not be the enemy of the good. This is a very thoughtful and valuable book and should be read by all those who would wish to bring reason to a defining challenge of our century.”
–Professor Lord Nicholas Stern 
“No one but Dale Jamieson could write an eminently readable book about climate change that ranges over the full sweep of the problem from the historical to the ethical, the scientific to the political. By placing this vexing issue into the broader context of the human condition, Jamieson guides the reader’s mood from pessimism to optimism, and finally realism about our prospects.”
–Michael Oppenheimer, Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs, Princeton University
 
“Part requiem for our failed hopes and part vision for our uncertain future, this remarkably far-ranging work by the philosopher who has thought longest and hardest about climate change could inspire fruitfully radical reassessment of our attitudes toward the most far-reaching challenge of our lifetimes. The climate is changing — can we?”
–Henry Shue, Centre for International Studies, University of Oxford 
“A highly informative, wise, and thought-provoking discussion of some of the greatest problems that humanity faces, and of some possible solutions.”
–Derek Parfit, All Souls College, Oxford 

About the Author

Dale Jamieson teaches Environmental Studies, Philosophy, and Law at New York University, and was formerly affiliated with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. He is the author of Ethics and the Environment: An Introduction, and Morality’s Progress: Essays on Humans, Other Animals, and the Rest of Nature.

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