Climate Change: Ethics in Action

Thursday, November 17, 2016 - 5:15pm to 8:30pm

From record temperatures to extreme weather events, the impacts of climate change are evident around the globe. Yet while the climate threat becomes increasingly clear, the collective nature of its causes and the seeming remoteness of its impacts challenge many of our ethical intuitions.

What is our ethical responsibility to take action against climate change, as individuals and as a university?

As we grapple with different points of view, what are the distinctions between healthy skepticism and dangerous denial, and what is our responsibility to defend science against disinformation?

With massive societal shifts necessary to limit global temperature rise below dangerous levels, what level of action against climate change is "enough"?

Join other members of the MIT community in a conversation about the ethical implications of climate change and our collective responsibility for action.


5:15 - Opening remarks

5:30 - Keynote presentation on the ethics of climate change

Dale Jamieson - Professor of Environmental Studies and Philosophy; Affiliated Professor of Law and Bioethics; Chair of Environmental Studies Department at New York University

6:30 - Panel discussion on the role of universities in responding to climate change

Kerry Emanuel - Professor of Atmospheric Science at MIT

Susan Silbey - Professor of Humanities, Sociology and Anthropology at MIT; Professor of Behavioral and Policy Sciences, Sloan School of Management

Janelle Knox-Hayes - Associate Professor of Economic Geography and Planning in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at MIT

Nathan Phillips - Professor of Earth and Environment at Boston University

Moderated by Kieran Setiya - Professor and Acting Chair of Philosophy at MIT

7:45 - Small-group discussions over dinner

Dinner will be served. The event is free and open to the public, but MIT affiliates and students will be given priority if the event reaches capacity. More information is available at