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The Intergenerational Transfer of Solar Radiation Management Capabilities and Atmospheric Carbon Stocks

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  • Goeschl, Timo
  • Heyen, Daniel
  • Moreno-Cruz, Juan

Abstract

Solar radiation management (SRM) technologies are considered one of the likeliest forms of geoengineering. If developed, a future generation could deploy them to limit the damages caused by the atmospheric carbon stock inherited from the current generation, despite their negative side effects. Should the current generation develop these geoengi-neering capabilities for a future generation? And how would a decision to develop SRM impact on the current generation's abatement efforts? Natural scientists, ethicists, and other scholars argue that future generations could be more sanguine about the side effects of SRM deployment than the current generation. In this paper, we add economic rigor to this important debate on the intergenerational transfer of technological capabilities and pollution stocks. We identify three conjectures that constitute potentially rational courses of action for current society, including a ban on the development of SRM. How-ever, the same premises that underpin these conjectures also allow for a novel possibility: If the development of SRM capabilities is sufficiently cheap, the current generation may for reasons of intergenerational strategy decide not just to develop SRM technologies, but also to abate more than in the absence of SRM.

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Paper provided by University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 540.

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Date of creation: 24 Jan 2013
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Handle: RePEc:awi:wpaper:540

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Keywords: Geoengineering; Climate Change; Intergenerational Issues; Strategic Behavior.;

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  1. J. Bickel & Shubham Agrawal, 2013. "Reexamining the economics of aerosol geoengineering," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 119(3), pages 993-1006, August.
  2. David G. Victor, 2008. "On the regulation of geoengineering," Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Oxford University Press, vol. 24(2), pages 322-336, Summer.
  3. Timo Goeschl & Grischa Perino, 2006. "Innovation Without Magic Bullets: Stock Pollution and R&D Sequences," Working Papers 0436, University of Heidelberg, Department of Economics, revised Dec 2006.
  4. Kreps, David M., 1990. "Game Theory and Economic Modelling," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198283812.
  5. Scott Barrett, 2008. "The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering," Environmental & Resource Economics, European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(1), pages 45-54, January.
  6. Stephen M. Gardiner, 2011. "Some Early Ethics of Geoengineering the Climate: A Commentary on the Values of the Royal Society Report," Environmental Values, White Horse Press, vol. 20(2), pages 163-188, May.
  7. Juan Moreno-Cruz & Katharine Ricke & David Keith, 2012. "A simple model to account for regional inequalities in the effectiveness of solar radiation management," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 649-668, February.
  8. Juan Moreno-Cruz & David Keith, 2013. "Climate policy under uncertainty: a case for solar geoengineering," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 121(3), pages 431-444, December.
  9. Marlos Goes & Nancy Tuana & Klaus Keller, 2011. "The economics (or lack thereof) of aerosol geoengineering," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 109(3), pages 719-744, December.
  10. William D. Nordhaus, 2007. "A Review of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 45(3), pages 686-702, September.
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