Climatic Change

, Volume 110, Issue 3–4, pp 1047–1066 | Cite as

The Tuvalu Syndrome

Can geoengineering solve climate’s collective action problem?
Article

Abstract

Geoengineering research has historically been inhibited by fears that the perceived availability of a technological fix for climate change, such as the deployment of space-based deflectors, may undermine greenhouse gas abatement efforts. I develop a game theoretic model to show that the credible threat of unilateral geoengineering may instead strengthen global abatement and lead to a self-enforcing climate treaty with full participation. A ‘rogue nation’ may wish to unilaterally geoengineer if it faces extreme climate damages (as with Tuvalu), or if there are minimal local side effects from geoengineering, such as hydrological cycle disruption or stratospheric ozone depletion. However, the costly global side effects of geoengineering may make it individually rational for other countries to reduce emissions to the level where this rogue nation no longer wishes to unilaterally geoengineer. My results suggest a need to model the impacts of a “selfish geoengineer” intent only on maximizing net domestic benefits, as well as a “benevolent geoengineer” out to restore global mean temperature and minimize global side effects.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Aldy JE, Barrett S, Stavins RN (2003) Thirteen plus one: a comparison of global climate policy architectures. Clim Policy 3(4):373–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Angel R (2006) Feasibility of cooling the Earth with a cloud of small spacecraft near the inner Lagrange point (L1). Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 103(46):17184–17189. doi:10.1073/pnas.0608163103 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bala G, Duffy PB, Taylor KE (2008) Impact of geoengineering schemes on the global hydrological cycle. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 105(22):7664–7669. doi:10.1073/pnas.0711648105 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Ban-Weiss GA, Caldeira K (2010) Geoengineering as an optimization problem. Environ Res Lett 5(034009):1–9Google Scholar
  5. Barrett S (1994) Self-enforcing international environmental agreements. Oxf Econ Pap 46:878–894Google Scholar
  6. Barrett S (1997) The strategy of trade sanctions in international environmental agreements. Resour Energy Econ 19(4):345–361CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Barrett S (2005) The theory of international environmental agreements. In: Mäler K-G, Vincent JR (eds) Handbook of environmental economics, vol 3. Elsevier, Amsterdam, pp 1458–1516Google Scholar
  8. Barrett S (2006) Climate treaties and “breakthrough” technologies. Am Econ Rev Pap Proc 96(2):22–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Barrett S (2008) The incredible economics of geoengineering. Environ Resour Econ 39(1):45–54CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Barrett S (2011) Climate treaties and approaching catastrophes. Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  11. Barrett S, Stavins R (2003) Increasing participation and compliance in international climate change agreements. Int Environ Agreem-P 3(4):349–376CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Blackstock JJ, Battisti DS, Caldeira K, Eardley DM, Katz JI, Keith DW, Patrinos AAN, Schrag DP, Socolow RH, Koonin SE (2009) Climate Engineering Responses to Climate Emergencies. Novim, Santa BarbaraGoogle Scholar
  13. Bodansky D (1996) May we engineer the climate? Clim Change 33(3):309–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Boucher O, Lowe JA, Jones CD (2009) Implications of delayed actions in addressing carbon dioxide emission reduction in the context of geo-engineering. Clim Change 92:261–273CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Brovkin V, Petoukhov V, Claussen M, Bauer E, Archer D, Jaeger C (2009) Geoengineering climate by stratospheric sulfur injections: earth system vulnerability to technological failure. Clim Change 92(3/4):243–259CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Carraro C (1998) Beyond Kyoto: a game theoretic perspective. Prepared for OECD workshop, “Climate Change and Economic Modelling. Background Analysis for the Kyoto Protocol,” ParisGoogle Scholar
  17. Chou P, Sylla C (2008) The formation of an international environmental agreement as a two-stage exclusive cartel formation game with transferable utilities. Int Environ Agreem-P 8(4):317–341. doi:10.1007/s10784-008-9082-6 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Cicerone RJ (2006) Geoengineering: encouraging research and overseeing implementation. Clim Change 77:221–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. EcoEquity and Christian Aid (2006) Greenhouse development rightsGoogle Scholar
  20. Finus M (2008) Game theoretic research on the design of international environmental agreements: insights, critical remarks, and future challenges. International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics 2(1):29–67CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Finus M, Saiz ME, Hendrix EMT (2009) An empirical test of new developments in coalition theory for the design of international environmental agreements. Environ Dev Econ 14:117–137. doi:10.1017/s1355770x08004634 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fleming JR (2007) The climate engineers. Wilson Quarterly (Spring 2007): 46–60Google Scholar
  23. Fleming JR (2010) Fixing the Sky. The Checkered History of Weather and Climate Control. Columbia University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  24. Frankel J (2008) An elaborated proposal for global climate policy architecture: specific formulas and emission targets for all countries in all decades. Discussion Paper 08–08, Harvard Project on International Climate Agreements, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  25. Heckendorn P, Weisenstein D, Fueglistaler S, Luo BP, Rozanov E, Schraner M, Thomason LW, Peter T (2009) The impact of geoengineering aerosols on stratospheric temperature and ozone. Environ Res Lett 4:045108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Irvine PJ, Ridgwell A, Lunt DJ (2010) Assessing the regional disparities in geoengineering impacts. Geophys Res Lett 37(L18702):1–6. doi:10.1029/2010GL044447 Google Scholar
  27. Jones A, Haywood J, Boucher O (2009) Climate impacts of geoengineering marine stratocumulus clouds. J Geophys Res 114:D10106. doi:10.1029/2008JD011450 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Keith DW (2000) Geoengineering the climate: history and prospect. Annu Rev Energy Environ 25(1):245–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kotowitz Y (2008) Moral hazard. In: Durlauf SN, Blume LE (eds), The new Palgrave dictionary of economics online, Palgrave MacmillanGoogle Scholar
  30. Lin AC (2009) Geoengineering governance. Issues Leg Scholars 8(3):1–24Google Scholar
  31. Lunt DJ, Ridgwell A, Valdes PJ, Seale A (2008) “Sunshade World”: a fully coupled GCM evaluation of the climatic impacts of geoengineering. Geophys Res Lett 35:L12710. doi:10.1029/2008gl033674 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. MacCracken MC (2009) On the possible use of geoengineering to moderate specific climate change impacts. Environ Res Lett 4:045107. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/4/4/045107 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Matthews HD, Caldeira K (2007) Transient climate-carbon simulations of planetary geoengineering. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 104(24):9949–9954. doi:10.1073/pnas.0700419104 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Matthews HD, Cao L, Caldeira K (2009) Sensitivity of ocean acidification to geoengineered climate stabilization. Geophys Res Lett 36:L10706CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Michaelson J (1998) Geoengineering: a climate change Manhattan Project. Stanf Environ Law J 17:73–140Google Scholar
  36. Moreno-Cruz J (2010) Mitigation and the geoengineering threat. Working PaperGoogle Scholar
  37. Naik V, Wuebbles DJ, DeLucia EH, Foley JA (2003) Influence of geoengineered climate on the terrestrial biosphere. Environ Manag 32(3):373–381CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. North DC, Weingast BR (1989) Constitutions and commitment: the evolution of institutional governing public choice in seventeenth-century England. J Econ Hist 49(4):803–832CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Olson M (1993) Dictatorship, democracy, and development. Am Polit Sci Rev 87(3):567–576CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Ridgwell A, Singarayer JS, Hetherington AM, Valdes PJ (2009) Tackling regional climate change by leaf albedo bio-geoengineering. Curr Biol 19:146–150CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Robock A, Oman L, Stenchikov GL (2008) Regional climate responses to geoengineering with tropical and Arctic SO2 injections. J Geophys Res 113:D16101. doi:10.1029/2008jd010050 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Robock A, Marquardt A, Kravitz B, Stenchikov GL (2009) Benefits, risks, and costs of stratospheric geoengineering. Geophys Res Lett 36:L19703CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Royal Society (2009) Geoengineering the climate. Science, governance and uncertainty. The Royal Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  44. Schelling TC (1996) The economic diplomacy of geoengineering. Clim Change 33:303–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schneider SH (1996) Geoengineering: could-or should-we do it? Clim Change 33(3):291–302CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Stern N (2007) The economics of climate change: the Stern review. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  47. Tilmes S, Müller R, Salawitch R (2008) The sensitivity of polar ozone depletion to proposed geoengineering schemes. Science 320(5880):1201–1204. doi:10.1126/science.1153966 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Tilmes S, Garcia RR, Kinnison DE, Gettelman A, Rasch PJ (2009) Impact of geoengineered aerosols on the troposphere and stratosphere. J Geophys Res 114:D12305. doi:10.1029/2008JD011420 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Trenberth KE, Dai A (2007) Effects of Mount Pinatubo volcanic eruption on the hydrological cycle as an analog of geoengineering. Geophys Res Lett 34:L15702CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  50. Victor DG (2008) On the regulation of geoengineering. Oxf Rev Econ Policy 24(2):322–336. doi:10.1093/oxrep/grn018 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Victor DG, Morgan MG, Apt J, Steinbruner J, Rich K (2009) The geoengineering option. Foreign Aff 88(2):64–76Google Scholar
  52. Virgoe J (2009) International governance of a possible geoengineering intervention to combat climate change. Clim Change 95:103–119CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and ResourcesStanford UniversityStanfordUSA

Personalised recommendations