Stephen Gardiner: "Climate Crisis & Institutional Denialism"

Submitted by Kate Goldyn on
Stephen Gardiner

Professor Stephen M. Gardiner is giving the 2021 Alan Saunders Lecture, on July 14, 2021 at 5 PM PT, at the annual Australasian Association of Philosophy Conference. Register for the live stream lecture here: The lecture will be broadcast on Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) Radio National's Big Ideas and available for download after the broadcast.

Climate Crisis & Institutional Denialism: Is it Time for a Global Constitutional Convention for the Young & Other Future Generations? 

Abstract: We have reached crunch time for the climate. In this talk, I outline our predicament and propose a solution. In my view, climate change is a profound ethical challenge, and new institutions are needed to address it. I call the ethical challenge ‘a perfect moral storm’, and argue that, sadly, current climate strategies, including the Paris Agreement, are inadequate to meet it. Part of the reason for this failure is the inadequacy of existing institutions, but surprisingly, most discussion of solutions ignores this fundamental fact. My aim is to confront this institutional denialism directly. I argue for a global constitutional convention for the future, akin to the American constitutional convention of 1787, which gave rise to the present structure of government in the United States. This deliberative forum would confront the serious “governance gap” that currently exists surrounding concern for the young and other future generations. Moreover, the “obvious” objections are not as compelling as one might think.