Economic Value of Solar Reflectivity Interventions to Reduce Global Warming
5 Pages Posted: 14 Sep 2023 Last revised: 17 Sep 2023
Date Written: September 13, 2023
The marginal economic value of stopping global warming, not including consideration of non-economic risks, is computed by dividing estimated total damages in 2025 from global warming by Earth’s present measured energy imbalance in megawatts to compute average damages per megawatt. The marginal value of an eliminated megawatt is computed by assuming a linear decline in the marginal value. The marginal value of an eliminated megawatt is applied to examples of Earth surface solar reflectivity interventions in the form of reflective reservoir covers, creating salt ponds that are left bright white on shrinking salt lakes such as the Salton Sea, converting dust covered salars in the Atacama desert to white salt, and restoring former salt evaporation ponds and leaving them bright white.
These calculations show that many such reflectivity interventions are cost-effective and should be undertaken. We should marshal global subsidies for low risk solar reflectivity interventions through markets where governments, philanthropists, and corporations can find and select the most cost-effective interventions with acceptable risk and help fund them. Each intervention can be technically verified by an independent third party measuring the increased number of megawatts reflected to space over time.
Keywords: Global Warming, Earth’s Energy Imbalance, Solar Radiation Modification, Carbon Credits, Reflection Cooling Credits
JEL Classification: Q54
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation