Environmental and Resource Economics

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

The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering

  • Scott BarrettEmail author


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?


Geoengineering Climate change Governance Free riding 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

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

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