There is a low but uncertain probability that climate change could trigger “mega-catastrophes,” severe and at least partly irreversible adverse effects across broad regions. This paper first discusses the state of current knowledge and the defining characteristics of potential climate change mega-catastrophes. While some of these characteristics present difficulties for using standard rational choice methods to evaluate response options, there is still a need to balance the benefits and costs of different possible responses with appropriate attention to the uncertainties. To that end, we present a qualitative analysis of three options for mitigating the risk of climate mega-catastrophes—drastic abatement of greenhouse gas emissions, development and implementation of geoengineering, and large-scale ex ante adaptation—against the criteria of efficacy, cost, robustness, and flexibility. We discuss the composition of a sound portfolio of initial investments in reducing the risk of climate change mega-catastrophes.
Common Resources — Apr 24, 2020
Preparation Now for Environmental Opportunities in Fiscal Stimulus Programs
Coronavirus will motivate some fiscal stimulus spending proposals that could benefit the environment, as long as proponents of environmental programs are prepared for the opportunities.
Common Resources — Apr 21, 2020
Three Prongs for a Prudent Climate Policy
The world’s single-minded focus on emissions mitigation has not done enough to prevent climate change, and a new strategy is in order, say the writers.
Working Paper — Apr 20, 2020
Three Prongs for Prudent Climate Policy
An evaluation of a three-pronged strategy for mitigating climate change risks that emphasizes adding adaptation and amelioration to the emission mitigation approach.