Question

A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change by Stephen M. Gardiner

1) Give a brief description of why one game theoretic model, specifically the tragedy of the commons, has become the standard analytical model for “Global Storm” related climate change issues, and note factors that may (or may not) help resolve a common problem that arises.

2) Give a brief summary (in your own words, with no more than brief quotes) of Gardiner’s take on the moral corruption issue.

3) Describe Gardiner’s reasons as to why and/or how the content of supposed motivations and assumptions—of individuals and other entities—enable his proposed models to work (or as he says, how they apply in: “motivating the models”).

4) List (with only brief discussion) several of the characteristics of Gardiner’s “pure scenario/core example” situation.

5) Do the same with regard to two of the factors that are “mitigating” (or tend to obscure) the significance of Gardiner’s PIP.

6) Summarize Gardiner’s conjecture as to institutions and theories, and note why—empirically—the conjecture appears likely true.

7) Regarding mainstream political philosophies (i.e. theories), discuss the most interesting complication in assessing theories by means of the global test.

8) List—with brief explanation—three of what Gardiner calls “moves” against the status of the moral claim, in the climate change context.

9) Do the same as above question regarding moves against its content.

10) State whether you support the following proposal, and give reasons why or why not:
Congress is considering a bill that would impose a tax on carbon. All products producing emissions containing it (e.g. CO2 or CH4) would be taxed. But policy would be that the new tax should be “revenue neutral.” Thus income tax would be reduced proportionately, such that for the average taxpayer/ consumer, the effect would be a wash—that is to say, no net increase in taxes—one’s overall tax burden would remain the same. However, it would mean that the cost of, say, gasoline would rise to $8/gallon.

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Questions and Answers on Gardiner’s
A Perfect Moral Storm: The Ethical Tragedy of Climate Change

1) Give a brief description of why one game theoretic model, specifically the tragedy of the commons, has become the standard analytical model for “Global Storm” related climate change issues, and note factors that may (or may not) help resolve a common problem that arises.

Imagine two prisoners. The two prisoners do not know how each other will act, but they know they are both given the chance to rat the other one out. They can either both confess, but each of them will get two years in the slammer. Or one can confess, and the other stay silent, one will be free while the other serves time. If they both stay silent, which is the favorable outcome, each will get one year.

Like nations who act according to their own self-interests, the idea of game theoretics is that in order to play the game actors play out scenarios according to how they perceive themselves as getting a better outcome for themselves. To play the game, nations realize they are forced to cooperate, but in terms of the game of restricting global emissions into the atmosphere, it is favorable for neither party to not re-strict their carbon emissions, so the problem persists. The only way is to be clear about the nature of the problem and to accept the idea that self-interest carried to the extreme can be avoided if a solution to the problem of global warming can be solved cooperatively....

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