Common Tragedies

Thoughts on Environmental Economics

Climate change, geoengineering, and other moral hazards

Posted by Daniel Hall on November 13, 2007

Here’s the video from an interesting TED talk by David Keith about geoengineering as a response to climate change. He obviously has mixed feelings about whether geoengineering should be used.

My conclusion is that it’s worth researching, if based on nothing more than our inability to slow emissions growth so far — note the statistic he gives about current emissions being above the worst-case projects from a decade ago — and the likelihood of enormous further growth if the globe’s poorest residents get access to reasonable levels of energy service in the coming decades (pointedly illustrated by Megan McArdle earlier today). Further, it seems to me that Keith is quite right that we should start to think about an international framework to address geoengineering deployment. It is likely to be so absurdly cheap that it is easy to imagine nations deploying such ‘fixes’ unilaterally without particular regard to impacts on others.

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