Solar radiation management: An evolving climate policy option

Video

Event Summary

Given the spotty history of international emissions agreements and the potentially serious effects of climate change, what avenues should policymakers pursue to mitigate climate change's risk? On Wednesday evening at AEI, Lee Lane of the Hudson Institute and J. Eric Bickel of the University of Texas at Austin presented new research on solar radiation management (SRM), which they proposed should be part of the solution. Bickel contended that even steep and costly emissions reductions cannot eliminate the possibility of significant warming. However, he suggested that SRM may be able to lessen the warming associated with elevated greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations, and thus should be the focus of additional research.

Lane discussed the developments in SRM over the past three years, describing how existing technology is unlikely to substantially lower the cost of reducing GHG emissions. He also addressed the shrinking legislative space for environmental regulations in the wake of the failed Waxman-Markey Bill, the growing discussion surrounding adaptation, and the risk associated with SRM.

Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling then commented on the types of research that are needed to flesh out SRM's possibilities, pointing to the eruption of Mount Pinatubo in the Philippines as a missed opportunity for researchers to examine the climate effects of SRM. Specifically, Shelling emphasized the need to determine the duration and variability of SRM's effect on the climate.
--Brad Wassink

Event Description

As hopes for curbing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions wane, interest in solar radiation management (SRM) continues to rise. A number of experts speculate that SRM might offset some of the harm from climate change by slightly enhancing the reflectiveness of Earth’s atmosphere. As the controversy over climate policy has grown, it has been said that GHG control is too hard but SRM is too easy.

A new paper by Lee Lane of the Hudson Institute and J. Eric Bickel of the University of Texas at Austin probes the truth of these propositions. The paper shows the potential economic benefits of SRM but also explores its risks. It argues that effective GHG control is likely to remain elusive but that barriers in international governance will probably impede hasty action on SRM, leading to hard bargaining and gridlock.

Join AEI for a discussion of this new research with the authors and Nobel Laureate Thomas Schelling. A reception will follow.

If you are unable to attend, we welcome you to watch the event live on this page. Full video will be posted within 24 hours.

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About the Author

 

Kevin A.
Hassett
  • Kevin A. Hassett is the State Farm James Q. Wilson Chair in American Politics and Culture at the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). He is also a resident scholar and AEI's director of economic policy studies.



    Before joining AEI, Hassett was a senior economist at the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System and an associate professor of economics and finance at Columbia (University) Business School. He served as a policy consultant to the US Department of the Treasury during the George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton administrations.

    Hassett has also been an economic adviser to presidential candidates since 2000, when he became the chief economic adviser to Senator John McCain during that year's presidential primaries. He served as an economic adviser to the George W. Bush 2004 presidential campaign, a senior economic adviser to the McCain 2008 presidential campaign, and an economic adviser to the Mitt Romney 2012 presidential campaign.

    Hassett is the author or editor of many books, among them "Rethinking Competitiveness" (2012), "Toward Fundamental Tax Reform" (2005), "Bubbleology: The New Science of Stock Market Winners and Losers" (2002), and "Inequality and Tax Policy" (2001). He is also a columnist for National Review and has written for Bloomberg.

    Hassett frequently appears on Bloomberg radio and TV, CNBC, CNN, Fox News Channel, NPR, and "PBS NewsHour," among others. He is also often quoted by, and his opinion pieces have been published in, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post.

    Hassett has a Ph.D. in economics from the University of Pennsylvania and a B.A. in economics from Swarthmore College.

  • Phone: 202-862-7157
    Email: khassett@aei.org
  • Assistant Info

    Name: Emma Bennett
    Phone: 202-862-5862
    Email: emma.bennett@aei.org

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