Geoengineering and the Question of Weakened Resolve
19 Pages Posted: 14 Feb 2018
Date Written: February 13, 2018
This Chapter offers several arguments regarding geoengineering’s relationship to mitigation and adaptation. First, compared to the terms moral hazard or risk compensation, weakened resolve better captures the concern regarding the possible adverse effect of geoengineering on mitigation and adaptation. Second, the inquiry into weakened resolve needs to be framed around who actually will determine mitigation and adaptation policy. Third, the current literature on weakened resolve would benefit from a broader geographical scope (to include major emitters such as China), the attitudes of elites as opposed to the general population, and the interaction between cultural and political polarization and weakened resolve. Fourth, because there is almost certainly some potential for weakened resolve even if we cannot ex ante establish how much, efforts should be made to mitigate any weakened resolve effect by framing geoengineering as a temporary, limited, risky response to climate change. Successfully maintaining that framing in public discourse may best be served by high-quality, peer-reviewed research regarding geoengineering technologies, with clear attention to their limits and risks. Restrictions on research at mainstream scientific venues itself may poses the risk that there will be a dearth of high-quality science to rebut efforts to rebut a framing of geoengineering as an easy, quick, low-risk solution to the problem of climate change.
Keywords: Climate Change, Geoengineering, Moral Hazard, Law and Psychology, Environmental Policy
JEL Classification: K10, K19, K30, K32
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation