Scholar in Residence Donald Brown focuses on ethics of climate change

“I believe that global environmental problems have to be understood as ethical problems,” says Center Scholar in Residence for Sustainability Ethics and Law Don Brown. Brown previously served as Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics, Science, and Law at the Pennsylvania State University where he taught interdisciplinary courses on climate change and sustainable development and also acted as Program Director of the Collaborative Program on the Ethical Dimensions of Climate Change. He also served as director of the Pennsylvania Environmental Research Consortium, which comprises 56 Pennsylvania colleges and universities working on sustainability issues.

Observing that Widener is “gaining a reputation for having a very productive environmental law faculty,” Brown says that he has been following the development of the school’s Environmental Law Center over the last several years. Brown and Distinguished Professor and ELC co-director John C. Dernbach were colleagues at the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection in the past and have collaborated on a number of projects.

Mr. Brown has written extensively on climate change and sustainability issues in more than 30 countries with a focus on the need to integrate environmental ethics with science, economics, and law in environmental policymaking. He is the author of American Heat, Ethical Problems with the US Response to Global Warming and a new book to be published in October, Navigating the Perfect Moral Storm, Climate Ethics. CNN and Time Magazine called, his previous blog, as one of the best 15 websites on any environmental issue in the United States. At Widener, he will be continuing to write at

Professor and Center Co-Director Jim May said, “it is a real privilege to welcome someone of Don’s caliber as our Scholar in Residence. We look forward to working with him on a variety of projects.”

Mr. Brown began blogging on the subject of ethics and climate change law “as a way of participating in policy discussions as they unfold in real time,” and “to raise ethical questions that weren’t being talked about in the United States.”

“I’m hoping to help Widener expand upon what its already doing successfully, and that is become a place of excellence in sustainability and environmental law,” concludes Brown, adding, “I’m obviously interested in legal issues that are emerging because of increased globalization in economics and environmental law – a place like Widener can help people in the United States understand what’s going on in the larger world.”

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