Human Engineering and Climate Change

Anthropogenic climate change is arguably one of the biggest problems that confront us today. There is ample evidence that climate change is likely to affect adversely many aspects of life for all people around the world, and that existing solutions such as geoengineering might be too risky and ordinary behavioural and market solutions might not be sufficient to mitigate climate change. In this paper, we consider a new kind of solution to climate change, what we call human engineering, which involves biomedical modifications of humans so that they can mitigate and/or adapt to climate change. We argue that human engineering is potentially less risky than geoengineering and that it could help behavioural and market solutions succeed in mitigating climate change. We also consider some possible ethical concerns regarding human engineering such as its safety, the implications of human engineering for our children and for the society, and we argue that these concerns can be addressed. Our upshot is that human engineering deserves further consideration in the debate about climate change. [Ethics, Policy and the Environment 15 (2) 2012: 206-221, with Anders Sandberg and Rebecca Roache] [pdf | html]

Feb 9th, 2012 | By | Category: Bioethics, Featured Articles

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  1. Saw this paper referenced in an olderish Popular Science magazine. The section titled “Pharmacological meat intolerance” mostly caught my interest because it already exists in a way. It’s an allergic reaction called Galactose-alpha-1,3-galactose, or just Alpha-Gal, and basically it’s an allergy to mammal meat. I have had it since May 2006 and it sucks.
    This is entering into the realm of conspiracy theories, but this allergy has only recently surfaced, completely out of the blue. Using an insect, the Lone Star tick, it is rapidly spread across the US.