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The Covid-19 Pandemic and Climate Change: Some Lessons Learned on Individual Ethics and Social Justice

The Covid-19 Pandemic and Climate Change: Some Lessons Learned on Individual Ethics and Social Justice

Fausto Corvino, “The Covid-19 Pandemic and Climate Change: Some Lessons Learned on Individual Ethics and Social Justice,” Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia 77, no. 2–3 (2021): 691–714,

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  • The Covid-19 Pandemic and Climate Change: Some Lessons Learned on Individual Ethics and Social Justice

    Type Journal Article
    Author Fausto Corvino
    Rights © 2021 by Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
    Volume 77
    Issue 2-3
    Pages 691-714
    Publication Revista Portuguesa de Filosofia
    ISSN 0870-5283
    Date 2021
    DOI 10.17990/RPF/2021_77_2_0691
    Language English
    Abstract The Covid-19 pandemic has confronted humanity with a complex and unexpected challenge. One part of this challenge concerned individual ethics, i.e., the behaviour of individuals with respect to the rules and restrictions that have been imposed by health authorities in the collective interest. Another part concerned, instead, the social organisation of immunisation campaigns. In this article I wonder whether the lessons we have learned in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic can be applied to climate change mitigation. My first argument is that at least some of the ethical successes obtained at the individual level can be repeated with respect to climate change, but only if we stop focusing solely on the risks of climate change and offer a convincing picture of the benefits and opportunities of a more sustainable world. The second argument is that the Covid-19 pandemic offered us a new perspective on the relationship between global systemic threats and social justice: no one can adapt in isolation, neither medically nor economically. An out-of-control climate will lead to the same situation, so the asymmetry of vulnerability between developed and developing countries (and also between wealthy and poor people within the same country) is only a short-term illusion.
    Date Added 9/10/2021, 5:12:14 PM
    Modified 9/10/2021, 6:15:55 PM


    • climate change, Covid-19, energy transition, globalisation, pandemic, restrictions, social justice, sustainability.


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