Graham Parkes: Climate Change and Chinese Philosophy

​Do 08/05/2014



The major obstacles in the way of making significant progress on slowing the rate of global warming are political, and geopolitical, and unless meaningful international commitments are made soon, no amount of individual, local or national action can achieve a sufficient reduction of the risks. If, or when, the United States finally decides to exercise its “world leadership” on this issue, the European Union and several other important players will no doubt commit themselves to join in. But unless China also commits itself to cooperate, the cause will be lost.

Attempts to gain Chinese cooperation by lecturing them on international justice, environmental ethics and other Western virtues are bound to fail. If on the other hand we frame the problems and the ways to solve them in terms drawn from the Chinese philosophical tradition (especially Confucianism but also Daoism), we find an abundance of helpful ideas about how best to live as individuals, and as members of families, societies and the global community. Furthermore, these ideas turn out to have deep resonances with corresponding ideas in the Western traditions which have generally been overlooked or marginalised.

Graham Parkes: Professor für Philosophie am University College Cork, Irland.


Mit Konfuzius gegen den Klimawandel (DIE FURCHE Nr. 20/15.5.2014)