How much do we care, and should we care, about a southern Florida that is underwater in the year 2500? If, in 500 years, our successors will have unknowable appetites and capabilities, what is the ethical content of their being behind this veil of ignorance? Does it matter how closely they will resemble us? Does it matter whether they will be more technologically capable than we are? Does it matter how they will perceive their obligations to generations that are in their future? Even though none of these questions is answerable, are we obligated to act as if the answers were knowable? Are we obliged to assume those answers that place the largest responsibility and cost upon us, alive in 2015—that people living 500 years from now will be approximately like us, not much more capable, and at least concerned about the welfare of generations after them?

Robert Socolow, “Climate Change and Destiny Studies: Creating Our Near and Far Futures”