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Geoengineering as an alternative to mitigation: specification and dynamic implications

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  • Olivier STERCK

    ()
    (UNIVERSITE CATHOLIQUE DE LOUVAIN, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES))

Abstract

Geoengineering, i.e. the use of artificial techniques aiming at cooling the planet, is increasingly considered as a realistic alternative to emission mitigation. Several methods are promising for their capacity to quickly halt global warming at a moderate cost. Such cheap technologies might be very beneficial to countries profoundly affected by global warming. In this paper, I propose a dynamic model in which geoengineering is introduced as an alternative to mitigation. Contrary to abatement, geoengineering is fast and cheap, but requires a large initial investment in research and development. Within this framework, I confirm the fear which is common among geoengineering opponents: abatement is reduced if geoengineering is expected to be available in the future. The long-run implications of the model are also alarming as geoengineering will not be undertaken progressively. The sudden implementation of geoengineering, together with the sharp jump in temperature induced, may disturb climate equilibrium and fragile ecosystems. Furthermore, the availability of geoengineering will exacerbate intergenerational issues: while current generations will anticipate the use of geoengineering by increasing their emissions, future generations will have to reduce their emissions, to bear the cost of sustaining geoengineering for centuries and to suffer from its negative side-effects.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Université catholique de Louvain, Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales (IRES) in its series Discussion Papers (IRES - Institut de Recherches Economiques et Sociales) with number 2011035.

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Length: 12
Date of creation: 17 Oct 2011
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ctl:louvir:2011035

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Keywords: Geoengineering; Abatement; Climate change; Global warming; R&D; Intergenerational issues;

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  1. Zeckhauser, Richard Jay & Kousky, Carolyn & Rostapshova, Olga V & Toman, Michael, 2010. "Responding to Threats of Climate Change Mega-Catastrophes," Scholarly Articles 4454155, Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
  2. 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.
  3. Adam Millard-Ball, 2012. "The Tuvalu Syndrome," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 110(3), pages 1047-1066, February.
  4. 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.
  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.
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Cited by:
  1. Johannes Emmerling & Massimo Tavoni, 2013. "Geoengineering and Abatement: A “flat” Relationship under Uncertainty," Working Papers 2013.31, Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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