The Intergenerational Transfer of Solar Radiation Management Capabilities and Atmospheric Carbon Stocks

Title: The Intergenerational Transfer of Solar Radiation Management Capabilities and Atmospheric Carbon Stocks
Format: Journal Article
Publication Date: March 2013
Description:

Solar radiation management (SRM) technologies are considered one of the likeliest forms of geoengineering. If developed, a future generation could deploy them to limit the damages caused by the atmospheric carbon stock inherited from the current generation, despite their negative side effects. Should the current generation develop these geoengineering capabilities for a future generation? And how would a decision to develop SRM impact on the current generation’s abatement efforts? Natural scientists, ethicists, and other scholars argue that future generations could be more sanguine about the side effects of SRM deployment than the current generation. In this paper, we add economic rigor to this important debate on the intergenerational transfer of technological capabilities and pollution stocks. We identify three conjectures that constitute potentially rational courses of action for current society, including a ban on the development of SRM. However, the same premises that underpin these conjectures also allow for a novel possibility: If the development of SRM capabilities is sufficiently cheap, the current generation may for reasons of intergenerational strategy decide not just to develop SRM technologies, but also to abate more than in the absence of SRM.

Ivan Allen College Contributors:
External Contributors: Timo Goeschl, Daniel Heyen
Citation:

Goeschl, Timo, Daniel Heyen, and Juan Moreno-Cruz. "The Intergenerational Transfer of Solar Radiation Management Capabilities and Atmospheric Carbon Stocks." Environmental and Resource Economics 56.1 (2013):  85-104.

Categories:
  • Environmental Economics
Related Departments:
  • School of Economics