The Tuvalu Syndrome. Can Geoengineering Solve Climate’s Collective Action Problem?

Climatic Change, Vol. 110, pp. 1047-1066, 2012

30 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2012  

Adam Millard-Ball

University of California, Santa Cruz - Environmental Studies

Date Written: April 22, 2011

Abstract

Geoengineering research has historically been inhibited by fears that the perceived availability of a technological fix for climate change, such as the deployment of space-based reflectors, may undermine greenhouse gas abatement efforts. I develop a game theoretic model to show that the credible threat of unilateral geoengineering may instead strengthen global abatement and lead to a self-enforcing climate treaty with full participation.

A "rogue nation" may wish to unilaterally geoengineer if it faces extreme climate damages (as with Tuvalu), or if there are minimal local side effects from geoengineering, such as hydrological cycle disruption or stratospheric ozone depletion. However, the costly global side effects of geoengineering may make it individually rational for other countries to reduce emissions to the level where this rogue nation no longer wishes to unilaterally geoengineer. My results suggest a need to model the impacts of a “selfish geoengineer” intent only on maximizing net domestic benefits, as well as a “benevolent geoengineer” out to restore global mean temperature and minimize global side effects.

Keywords: geoengineering, solar radiation management, international environmental agreements, climate policy

Suggested Citation

Millard-Ball, Adam, The Tuvalu Syndrome. Can Geoengineering Solve Climate’s Collective Action Problem? (April 22, 2011). Climatic Change, Vol. 110, pp. 1047-1066, 2012. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2028166

Adam Millard-Ball (Contact Author)

University of California, Santa Cruz - Environmental Studies ( email )

1156 High Street
Santa Cruz, CA 95064
United States
1-831-459-1838 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://envs.ucsc.edu/faculty/singleton.php?&singleton=true&cruz_id=adammb

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