Solar Geoengineering: International and Intergenerational Equity – An Economic Perspective
Juan Moreno-Cruz, Georgia Institute of Technology
Solar geoengineering (SRM) is different from mitigation strategies in at least three ways: it is faster, cheaper and riskier than any other form of climate remediation. These characteristics make SRM a formidable tool to manage climate change. However, more nuance analysis of the technology and its implications shows a different picture. Recent results in the physical sciences suggest that most regions in the planet could benefit from SRM; the preferred amount of intervention, however, differs drastically among regions. This implies that SRM negotiations could be markedly different from those on mitigation. While negotiations about mitigation are frustrated by lack of voluntary participation from big players, SRM negotiations are more likely to hang on the exclusion of small players. Contrary to the idea of a small island state using SRM to save its livelihood, a most likely scenario is one in which powerful players decide where to set the thermostat.
SRM will affect the choices of the current generation. Because SRM is cheaper than mitigation, it is economically rational to expect less mitigation to take place in favor of future SRM implementation. Because SRM is fast, it allows for future generations to quickly reduce temperatures in case climate change proves to be catastrophic. However by postponing mitigation we are directly shifting the weight of the climate costs and risks to future generations.
Taken together, SRM creates both international and intergenerational equity problems that can and should be accounted for before moving forward with a particular geoengineering scheme.
Loading more stuff…
Hmm…it looks like things are taking a while to load. Try again?