IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Beyond mitigation : potential options for counter-balancing the climatic and environmental consequences of the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases


  • MacCracken, Mike


Global climate change is occurring at an accelerating pace, and the global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that are forcing climate change continue to increase. Given the present pace of international actions, it seems unlikely that atmospheric composition can be stabilized at a level that will avoid"dangerous anthropogenic interference"with the climate system, as called for in the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change. Complicating the situation, as GHG emissions are reduced, reductions in the offsetting cooling influence of sulfate aerosols will create an additional warming influence, making an early transition to climate stabilization difficult. With significant reductions in emissions (mitigation) likely to take decades, and with the impacts of projected climate change-even with proactive adaptation-likely to be quite severe over the coming decades, additional actions to offset global warming and other impacts have been proposed as important complementary measures. Although a number of possible geoengineering approaches have been proposed, each has costs and side effects that must be balanced against the expected benefits of reduced climate impacts. However, substantial new research is needed before comparison of the relative benefits and risks of intervening is possible. A first step in determining whether geoengineering is likely to be a useful option is the initiation of research on four interventions to limit the increasing serious impacts: limiting ocean acidification by increasing the removal of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and upper ocean; limiting the increasing intensity of tropical cyclones; limiting the warming of the Arctic and associated sea level rise; and sustaining or enhancing the existing sulfate cooling influence. In addition, in depth consideration is needed regarding the governance structure for an international geoengineering decision-making framework in the event that geoengineering becomes essential.

Suggested Citation

  • MacCracken, Mike, 2009. "Beyond mitigation : potential options for counter-balancing the climatic and environmental consequences of the rising concentrations of greenhouse gases," Policy Research Working Paper Series 4938, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4938

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no

    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rau, Greg H. & Knauss, Kevin G. & Langer, William H. & Caldeira, Ken, 2007. "Reducing energy-related CO2 emissions using accelerated weathering of limestone," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 32(8), pages 1471-1477.
    2. Victor Brovkin & Vladimir Petoukhov & Martin Claussen & Eva Bauer & David Archer & Carlo Jaeger, 2009. "Geoengineering climate by stratospheric sulfur injections: Earth system vulnerability to technological failure," Climatic Change, Springer, vol. 92(3), pages 243-259, February.
    3. Scott Barrett, 2008. "The Incredible Economics of Geoengineering," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 39(1), pages 45-54, January.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item


    Montreal Protocol; Climate Change; Energy Production and Transportation; Energy and Environment; Environment and Energy Efficiency;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:


    This item is featured on the following reading lists or Wikipedia pages:
    1. Michael MacCracken in Wikipedia English ne '')


    Access and download statistics


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4938. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    If CitEc recognized a reference but did not link an item in RePEc to it, you can help with this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.