Sustainability & Climate Task Force

Photographer: Michael Weisberg

PSA Climate Change Task Force

The PSA Climate Change Task Force is a subcommittee of the PSA Sustainability Committee. The purpose of the Climate Change Task Force is to bring the PSA into conformity with the global movement to end the decades of inaction on climate change and avoid its most catastrophic consequences.  Its principal tasks are to (a) propose policies that would help the PSA as an organization meet the IPCC’s goal of significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, and (b) assist members in their individual efforts as philosophers of science to promote this goal.  As such, its remit is to consider what concrete actions the PSA should undertake as an association with regard to:    
  • serving members as a clearinghouse of individual and institutional knowledge concerning successful policies and practices aimed at changing academic culture;
  • reconceiving the format, frequency, and location of PSA meetings given the heavy carbon footprint of the existing conference model;
  • providing resources to PSA members aiming to build climate science/policy into their teaching or research;
  • facilitating public engagement activities concerning climate policies and actions. 
As a first step, the PSA Governing Board has formally endorsed the guidelines of Philosophers for Sustainability (as drafted November 2019).  Among other suggestions, these guidelines entreat the PSA itself and its individual members to carefully consider the carbon costs associated with long-distance travel when planning workshops and conferences, and consider whether the goods of the meeting may be achieved in a less carbon-intensive way. As such, the PSA is now actively considering how it may work towards cutting the carbon emissions associated with its biennial conference, and how it can help its members to do the same.  To do so, the PSA needs the input of its members and is administering a survey in March 2021 in order to gain it. This survey is aimed at gauging attitudes toward a more online research model and gathering constructive suggestions for how we as a community can "walk the walk" when it comes to the science of climate change. The key findings of this survey have been published on Daily Nous.

Update 10/08: Climate change survey results are now available to view.

Please contact any members of this task force if you can contribute to its work. Suggestions of resources relevant for PSA members, policies to propose, actions to take are most welcome!   
Kerry McKenzie (chair), UC San Diego,
Heather Douglas, Michigan State University,
Alastair Wilson, University of Birmingham, UK,
Soazig Le Bihan, University of Montana,
Amanda Corris, Wake Forest University, NC,