There is a forthcoming article in Ethics, Policy and the Environment which proposes to consider human engineering, alongside other tools, in order to reduce our impact on the climate. The authors, Liao, Sandberg and Roache (LSR) write, "It involves the biomedical modification of humans to make them better at mitigating climate change."
Among the proposed methods are:
- Pharmacological meat intolerance
- Making humans smaller
- Lowering birth-rates through cognitive enhancement
- Pharmacological enhancement of altruism and empathy
In a way, LSR recognize the fundamental problem of the challenge posed by climate change. Unlike other problems, such as malaria or AIDS, here we do not have technologies that can be applied to remedy a problem. This has been convincingly argued in a Nature piece by Nelson and Sarewitz. So what LSR suggest is to find equivalent medical technologies to find a solution to an intractable problem.
To avoid misunderstanding: I find the human engineering proposal outlandish and hope it will be either forgotten or forcefully rejected. But I am not optimistic in this regard as the argument takes advantage of a slippery slope which has been established through all sorts of human enhancement procedures which people have voluntarily adopted.
It highlights the problem outlined by Nelson and Sarewitz and gives it a new twist.
Just as we had a discussion about utopias here on Klimawiebel, enter yet another dystopian proposal!