SOPhiA 2019

Salzburgiense Concilium Omnibus Philosophis Analyticis

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Programme - Talk

Capturing Carbon. A Risk Ethical Approach.
(Ethics, English)

Most climate models, which compute the possibility of keeping the global temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius of the pre-industrial level, incorporate some mechanism of Carbon Dioxide Reduction (CDR). Given the backlog on current carbon emissions, actively reducing the amount of carbon within the atmosphere plays a fundamental role in the 2 degree goal. CDR-technologies come in many different shapes and forms, from increasing carbon sinks (i.e. reforestation, ocean fertilization, etc.), to more industrial methods summed up under the header of Carbon Capture and Sequestration (CCS). However, techniques of Carbon Capture and Sequestration Systems are problematic in their implementation, since they represent a dangerous mix of economic, technological and environmental hurdles. Abstracting from the economic and technical issues that carbon capture systems carry, the focus here shall be on investigating the ethical implications that such a set of new technologies transports. By drawing on considerations based in risk-ethics, the question of whether imposing the risk of capturing and storing large amounts of CO2 can be morally justified will be examined. This is done by exploring how the i) imposition of the risk through storage, and ii) the risk itself that arises through carbon storage can be evaluated. In the process, two different forms of storage, i.e. geological and ex situ carbonization, will be compared based on their merits in relation to a risk-ethical analysis. The risk-ethical analysis will largely recruit on Sven Ove Hansson's approach within the field, discussing concepts such as the Closest Deterministic Analogue as a way to scrutinize the suitability of more traditional ethical theories in the face of climate change. The final arguments will be that a) a risk-ethical approach is necessary to properly evaluate the issues that climate engineering carries; and b) that CCS-technologies are of yet an ethically worrisome solution for climate change.

Chair:
Time: 10:40-11:10, 20 September 2019 (Friday)
Location: SR 1.004

Benjamin Hofbauer 
(University of Graz, Austria)

- 2017: Bachelor's Degree in Translation and Interpreting (Spanish; English); University of Graz

- since 2017: Joint Degree Master's Program "Political, Economic, & Legal Philosophy"; University of Graz/Ruhr-University Bochum

Focus of current work: Applied Ethics, Risk Ethics, Technology Assessment, Climate Ethics, Climate Engineering

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