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From moral hazard to risk-response feedback

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-08-05, 13:14 authored by Joseph Jebari, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Talbot M. Andrews, Valentina AquilaValentina Aquila, Brian Beckage, Mariia Belaia, Maggie Clifford, Jay Fuhrman, David P. Keller, Katharine J. Mach, David R. Morrow, Kaitlin T. Raimi, Daniele Visioni, Simon NicholsonSimon Nicholson, Christopher H. Trisos

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change assessments (IPCC) Special Report on 1.5 °C of global warming is clear. Nearly all pathways that hold global warming well below 2 °C involve carbon removal (IPCC, 2015). In addition, solar geoengineering is being considered as a potential tool to offset warming, especially to limit temperature until negative emissions technologies are sufficiently matured (MacMartin et al., 2018). Despite this, there has been a reluctance to embrace carbon removal and solar geoengineering, partly due to the perception that these technologies represent what is widely termed a “moral hazard”: that geoengineering will prevent people from developing the will to change their personal consumption and push for changes in infrastructure (Robock et al., 2010), erode political will for emissions cuts (Keith, 2007), or otherwise stimulate increased carbon emissions at the social-system level of analysis (Bunzl, 2008). These debates over carbon removal and geoengineering echo earlier ones over climate adaptation. We argue that debates over “moral hazard” in many areas of climate policy are unhelpful and misleading. We also propose an alternative framework for dealing with the tradeoffs that motivate the appeal to “moral hazard,” which we call “risk-response feedback.”



Climate Risk Management


Climate Risk Management, Volume 33, January 2021, Article number 100324.


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