Economics isn’t all about money. It’s about human action, decisions and choices. In fact, economists and environmentalists could be natural allies in solving climate change. Unfortunately, a good number of environmentalists take a hardline stance on geoengineering, arguing that any further human manipulation of the environment is a bad idea. But with CO2 levels reaching more than 400 PPM, mitigation alone will not solve our problem. So how would an economist approach climate change?
Sean Hernandez is a professional economist, data scientist, and environmental policy expert with a Master’s degree in economics from USC. In his current role at an energy utility, Sean specializes in energy marketing, trading and financial analysis. Today, he joins Ross and Christophe to define what is meant by the phrase ‘moral hazard’ and explain the argument against a technofix for global warming. They discuss the problem with lumping all forms of geoengineering together, pointing out that some techniques are widely accepted while others are much more controversial.
Sean employs his national champion debate skills to explore the mitigation camp’s moral hazard argument against geoengineering and offer insight around cap and trade as well as carbon market policy in California. Christophe, Ross, and Sean cover the accelerating effect of climate change, the risks around solar radiation management, and the fuel switching issue. Listen in for Sean’s take on a portfolio-based approach to climate change that continues civilization while employing a combination of advanced techniques—including geoengineering.
[2:21] The definition of ‘moral hazard’
[4:04] The moral hazard argument against a technofix for global warming
[9:14] The problem with lumping all forms of geoengineering together
[11:50] The counter to the mitigation camp’s disincentivization argument
[14:14] The problem with the moral hazard argument in carbon removal
[16:34] Why a portfolio-based approach to climate change is necessary
[19:33] The accelerating effect of climate change
[20:37] The challenge around cap and trade
[23:06] Sean’s insight on carbon market policy
[25:07] The failings of the California cap and trade market
[26:18] The flaw in the Netherlands’ plan to ban the sale of internal combustion engines
[32:02] The risks of solar radiation management (SRM)
[36:51] Sean’s take on natural gas and fracking
[40:14] Sean’s approach to solving climate change