The economics (or lack thereof) of aerosol geoengineering

Marlos Goes, Nancy Tuana, Klaus Keller
2011 Climatic Change  
Anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions are changing the Earth's climate and impose substantial risks for current and future generations. What are scientifically sound, economically viable, and ethically defendable strategies to manage these climate risks? Ratified international agreements call for a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to avoid dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system. Recent proposals, however, call for the deployment of a different approach: to
more » ... climate by injecting aerosol precursors into the stratosphere. Published economic studies typically suggest that substituting aerosol geoengineering for abatement of carbon dioxide emissions results in large net monetary benefits. However, these studies neglect the risks of aerosol geoengineering due to (i) the potential for a failure to sustain the aerosol forcing and (ii) the negative impacts associated with the aerosol forcing. Here we use a simple integrated assessment model of climate change to analyze potential economic impacts of aerosol geoengineering strategies over a wide range of uncertain parameters such as climate sensitivity, the economic damages due to climate change, and the economic damages due to aerosol geoengineering forcing. The simplicity of the model provides the advantages of parsimony and transparency, but it also imposes severe caveats on the interpretation of the results. For example, the analysis is based on a globally aggregated model and is hence silent on intragenerational distribution of costs and benefits. In addition, the analysis neglects the effects of endogenous learning about the climate system.
doi:10.1007/s10584-010-9961-z fatcat:qhbzkpqwxfggznl2ihbmfhdoua