Security implications of geoengineering and countergeoengineering


Scientists predict higher global temperatures over this century. While this may benefit some countries, most will face varying degrees of damages. This has motivated research on solar geoengineering, technology that allows countries to unilaterally and temporarily lower global temperatures. To better understand the security implications of this technology, we develop a simple theory that incorporates solar geoengineering, counter-geoengineering to reverse its effects, and the use of military force to prevent others from modifying temperatures. We find that when countries' temperature preferences diverge, applications of geoengineering and counter-geoengineering can be highly inefficient due to deployment in opposite directions. Due to this inefficiency, under certain conditions, countries may prefer military interventions over peaceful ones. Cooperation that avoids a waste of resources can emerge in repeated settings, but difficulties in monitoring or attributing interventions make such arrangements less attractive. We verify some of our modeling assumptions and evaluate the model's implications using original survey data.


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Last updated on 02/15/2020