American Heat / Edition 1

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When the world began to wake up to the global environmental crisis in the 1970s, the United States was the undisputed world leader in environmental policy. Yet, on an unsettling number of international environmental issues—including global warming—the U.S. has not only forfeited its leadership role but has too often become the major barrier to protecting the global environment. In American Heat, Donald Brown critically analyzes the U.S. response to global warming, inviting readers to examine the implicit morality of the U.S position, and ultimately to help lead the world toward an equitable sharing of the burdens and benefits of protecting the global environment. In short, Brown argues that an ethical focus on global environmental matters is the key to achieving a globally acceptable solution.

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Editorial Reviews

Ross Gelbspan
Drawing on his own deeply American conscience, Don Brown has put America's indifference to the climate crisis into its most essential context—human ethics. As American Heat illustrates, our response to global warming is corroding our most cherished values. With so much of the debate focused on science and economics, Brown forces us to confront what we are doing to our poor neighbors around the world, to our species at home and, ultimately, to our own children.
Edward Wells
I found American Heat an excellent read. Don Brown examines ethical issues embedded in policymaking and science as they relate to the failure of the United States to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases. Readers of American Heat will understand how, when it comes to the issue of global warming, ethics is often a silent but potent driver of political and scientific voices.
Laura Westra
Donald Brown is uniquely placed to make and defend the arguments in American Heat, the first book of its kind to clearly and convincingly connect the questions surrounding climate change with their ethical consequences.
Bill McKibben
In American Heat, Donald Brown shines a harsh light on one of the tawdriest chapters in recent American policy: our unwillingness to own up to our obvious obligation to help in the process of repairing the climate we have done so much to damage. If our leaders are capable of shame, this book should do the trick.
John Lemons
The criticisms in American Heat flow from the intellectual tour de force of Brown's analysis and his deep belief that Americans will help lead the world to combating global warming fairly and justly once they understand how ethically troubling our current stance actually is. This book is a must read.
William Aiken
A convincing case, made by a gutsy insider, that the history of the U.S. response to global warming is ethically intolerable. American Heat is informative, provocative, and passionately argued. It deserves widespread public attention and discussion.
From The Critics
Formerly with the UN and now Pennsylvania environmental programs, Brown examines the positions the US has taken in global warming negotiations through an ethical lens. He fails to find any ethical system in which these positions are not ethically bankrupt. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780742512962
  • Publisher: The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group Inc
  • Publication date: 1/28/2002
  • Series: Studies in Social, Political, and Legal Philosophy Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 284
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.64 (d)

Meet the Author

Donald A. Brown is director of the Pennsylvania Consortium for Interdisciplinary Environmental Policy and former program manager for United Nations Organizations at the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Office of International Environmental Policy.

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Table of Contents

Part 1 Preliminary Matters Chapter 2 Absence of Ethical Concern Chapter 3 History of U.S. Participation in Global Warming Negotiations Chapter 4 Environmental Ethics and Global Warming Policy Chapter 5 Global Warming, Ethics, and Foreign Policy Chapter 6 What Is At Stake? Global Warming's Threat to Human Health and the Environment Chapter 7 Uncertainty in the Scinece of Climate Change Part 8 Ethical Analysis of U.S. Excuses for Lack of Action on Global Warming Chapter 9 The Ethical Duty to Reduce Emission in the Face of Scientific Uncertainty about Global Warming Consequences Chapter 10 U.S. Obligation to Act Even if the Developing World Does Not Chapter 11 Ethical Issues Entailed by the Use of Cost-Benefit Analysis—Based Arguments Made In Oppositition to U.S. Greenhouse Gas Reduction Programs Chapter 12 Ethical Problems With the U.S. Insistence on Its View of the Kyoto Flexibility Mechanisms Part 13 Other Global Warming Ethical Issues Chapter 14 An Equitable Allocation of Greenhouse Gas Emissions among Nations Chapter 15 Ethical Dimensions of a Greenhouse Gas Atmospheric Stabilization Target Chapter 16 Conclusion: Some Additional Issues Chapter 17 Glossary

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