Environmental and Resource Economics

, Volume 39, Issue 1, pp 45–54 | Cite as

The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering

Article

Abstract

The focus of climate policy so far has been on reducing the accumulation of greenhouse gases. That approach, however, requires broad international cooperation and, being expensive, has been hindered by free riding; so far, little action has been taken. An alternative approach is to counteract climate change by reducing the amount of solar radiation that strikes the Earth—“geoengineering.” In contrast to emission reductions, this approach is inexpensive and can be undertaken by a single country, unilaterally. But geoengineering also has worrying consequences: it may harm some countries; it would not address ocean acidification; it would pose new risks. The fundamental challenge posed by this new technology is not free riding but governance: who should decide if and under what circumstances geoengineering should be used?

Keywords

Geoengineering Climate change Governance Free riding 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. Anderson S, Newell R (2004) Prospects for carbon capture and storage technologies. Annu Rev Environ Resour 29: 109–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ansolabehere S, Deutch J, Driscoll M, Gray PE, Holdren JP, Joskow PL, Lester RK, Moniz EJ, Dodreas NE (2003) The future of nuclear power: an interdisciplinary MIT study. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  3. Barrett S (2005) Environment and statecraft: the strategy of environmental treaty-making (paperback edition). Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett S (2006a) Climate treaties and ‘breakthrough’ technologies. Am Econ Rev Pap Proc 96(2): 22–25CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barrett S (2006b) The smallpox eradication game. Public Choice 130: 179–207CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Barrett S (2007) Why cooperate? The incentive to supply global public goods. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  7. Blaizot J-P, Iliopoulos J, Madsen J, Ross GG, Sonderegger P, Specht H-J (2003) Study of potentially dangerous events during heavy-ion collisions at the LHC: report of the LHC safety study group. Geneva, CERN 2003-001Google Scholar
  8. Bodansky D (1996) May we engineer the climate?. Clim Change 33: 309–321CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Caldeira K, Jain AK, Hoffert MI (2003) Climate sensitivity uncertainty and the need for energy without CO2 emission. Science 299: 2052–2054CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Cicerone RJ (2006) Geoengineering: encouraging research and overseeing implementation. Clim Change 77: 221–226CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Crutzen PJ (2006) Albedo enhancement by stratospheric sulfur injections: a contribution to resolve a policy dilemma?. Clim Change 77: 211–219CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Govindasamy B, Caldeira K (2000) Geoengineering earth’s radiation balance to mitigate CO2-induced climate change. Geophys Res Lett 27(14): 2141–2144CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Govindasamy B, Caldeira K, Duffy PB (2003) Geoengineering earth’s radiation balance to mitigate climate change from a quadrupling of CO2. Glob Planet Change 37: 157–168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Govindasamy B, Thompson S, Duffy PB, Caldeira K, Delire C (2002) Impact of geoengineering schemes on the terrestrial biosphere. Geophys Res Lett 29(22): 2061, doi. 1029/2002GL015911 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (2007) Climate change 2007: the physical science basis. Summary for policymakers. Available at http://www.ipcc.ch/SPM2feb07.pdf
  16. Keith DW (2000) Geoengineering the climate: history and prospect. Annu Rev Energy Environ 25: 245–284CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. MacCracken MC (2006) Geoengineering: worthy of cautious evaluation?. Clim Change 77: 235–243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Nordhaus WD (1994) Managing the global commons: the economics of climate change. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  19. Nordhaus WD, Boyer J (2000) Warming the world: economic models of global warming. MIT Press, Cambridge, MAGoogle Scholar
  20. Panel on Policy Implications of Greenhouse Warming (1992) Policy implications of greenhouse warming: mitigation, adaptation, and the science base. National Academy Press, Washington, DCGoogle Scholar
  21. Rees M (2003) Our final hour. Basic Books, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  22. Robock A (2002) The climatic aftermath. Science 295: 1242–1243CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Royal Society (2005) Ocean acidification due to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. The Royal Society, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Schelling TC (1996) The economic diplomacy of geoengineering. Clim Change 33: 303–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Schneider SH (2001) Earth systems engineering and management. Nature 409: 417–421CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Stern N (2007) The economics of climate change: the Stern review. Cambridge University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  27. Sterner T, Troell M, Aniyar S, Barrett S, Brock W, Carpenter S, Chopra K, Ehrlich P, Hoel M, Levin S, Mäler K-G, Norberg J, Pihl L, Söderqvist T, Wilen J, Vincent J, Xepapadeas A (2006) Natural disasters and disastrous policies. Environment 48(10): 20–27Google Scholar
  28. Teller E, Hyde R, Ishikawa M, Nuckolls J, Wood L (2003) Active stabilization of climate: inexpensive, low risk, near-term options for preventing global warming and ice ages via technologically varied solar radiative forcing. Lawrence Livermore National Library, 30 NovemberGoogle Scholar
  29. Travis DJ, Carleton AM, Lauritsen RG (2002) Contrails reduce daily temperature range. Nature 418: 601CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Wigley TML (2006) A combined mitigation/geoengineering approach to climate stabilization. Science 314: 452–454CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Paul H. Nitze School of Advanced International StudiesJohns Hopkins UniversityWashingtonUSA

Personalised recommendations