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Energy Decisions Within an Applied Ethics Framework: Analysis of Five Recent Controversies

Bethem, Jacob; Frigo, Giovanni; Biswas, Saurabh DesRoches, C. Tyler; Pasqualetti, Martin

Everywhere in the world, and in every period of human history, it has been common for energy decisions to be made in an ethically haphazard manner. With growing population pressure and increasing demand for energy, this approach is no longer viable. We believe that decision makers must include ethical considerations in energy decisions more routinely and systematically. To this end, we propose an applied ethics framework that accommodates principles from three classical ethical theories—virtue ethics, deontology, consequentialism, and two Native American ethics (Lakota and Navajo)—all considered from the perspectives of the impacted communities. We illustrate this framework by evaluating five recent energy decisions: the Dakota Access Pipeline, the Navajo Nation’s possible transition from coal to solar, hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania, uranium mining in Virginia, and the construction of the Xiaolangdi Dam in China. An applied ethics framework is preferable to existing ethical analyses because it can serve to sharpen arguments for (un)ethical decisions and action. Rather than treat ethical reasoning as a matter of opinion, we argue that applying ethical principles in a universal and standardized way adds rigor to energy sector decisions by presenting a position available for objective scrutiny. ... mehr

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Verlagsausgabe §
DOI: 10.5445/IR/1000123870
Veröffentlicht am 11.10.2020
Cover der Publikation
Zugehörige Institution(en) am KIT Institut für Technikfolgenabschätzung und Systemanalyse (ITAS)
Publikationstyp Zeitschriftenaufsatz
Publikationsjahr 2020
Sprache Englisch
Identifikator ISSN: 2192-0567
KITopen-ID: 1000123870
HGF-Programm 36.02.02 (POF III, LK 01)
Energy-Resources, Technologies, Systems
Erschienen in Energy, Sustainability and Society
Band 10
Heft 1
Seiten Art. Nr.: 29
Vorab online veröffentlicht am 13.08.2020
Schlagwörter Energy, Energy transitions, Applied energy ethics, Philosophy
Nachgewiesen in Web of Science
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