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  • Print publication year: 2019
  • Online publication date: June 2019

3 - Solar Geoengineering and Emissions Abatement


The most widespread – and arguably influential – concern regarding solar geoengineering has been that it would harmfully displace emissions abatement. Notably, there was a similar objection to adaptation, although one no longer hears it. Moral hazard and risk compensation offer imperfect analogies, and the empirical evidence for their magnitudes is mixed. Public opinion studies that ask people how they would respond to solar geoengineering consistently do not imply abatement displacement and often point toward the reverse, in which solar geoengineering increases support for abatement. The chapter identifies four genuine hazards regarding the relationships among the responses to climate change. Notably, all four are challenges to governance in general and are not limited to climate change policy. These imply some, albeit limited, policy options to reduce abatement displacement. Linkages between international abatement and solar geoengineering policies have some potential. I suggest that the abatement displacement concern is widespread for reasons largely unrelated to reducing climate change and its negative impacts, but instead is grounded in political coalitions and worldviews