The Protestant Dimension of the Ethical Critique of Carbon Commodification

In: Christian Faith, Philosophy & International Relations

Abstract

Some influential philosophers have argued that carbon commodification is a morally bad means of combating global climate change. This article argues that the ethical critique of carbon commodification derives moral coherence and strength from its implicit religious foundation, that is, the “Protestant” understanding of social ethics on which it relies. The argument is threefold. First, the ethical critique of carbon commodification is not a strictly ethical position, as it typically depends on prophetic indictment as well as moral-philosophical concerns. Second, the ethical critique of carbon commodification involves a secularized continuation of the “Protestant” tradition within Christian thought. Third, its “Protestant-ness” gives the ethical critique of carbon commodification critical power, as the very occurrence of climate change implies coherency problems for the opposing dominant “Roman” tradition.

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