Now the IPCC has a new secret weapon up its sleeve: philosophy. One of the lead authors for the IPCC’s Working Group III, which looks at mitigation, is Oxford Professor of Moral Philosophy John Broome.
It is unlikely that you have heard of Professor Broome. However, you will have heard of the 2006 Stern Review. Some of that review’s most controversial calculations appear to have been rooted in the ethical assumptions of Professor Broome.
Professor Broome’s thinking can be seen in an article he wrote for Scientific American in 2008. In it, he praised Lord Stern’s reasoning. But in fact the reasoning seems to have been his own, since he was acknowledged as a contributor to the Review, and wrote a study for it.
Was that ethical?
Professor Broome made clear in his article is that he is less of a moral philosopher than a moralist looking for sophistic rationalizations — a David Suzuki or George Monbiot in a toga. Mr. Broome is an expert at masking socialist principles behind conceptual flim flam such as “prioritarianism,” a God-like weighing by “society” of benefits to rich and poor. (When Maggie Thatcher said there was “no such thing as society,” this is what she was talking about).