From moral hazard to risk-response feedback

Joseph Jebari, Olúfẹ́mi O. Táíwò, Talbot M. Andrews, Valentina Aquila, Brian Beckage, Mariia Belaia, Maggie Clifford, Jay Fuhrman, David P. Keller, Katharine J. Mach, David R. Morrow, Kaitlin T. Raimi, Daniele Visioni, Simon Nicholson, Christopher H. Trisos

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


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.”

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number100324
JournalClimate Risk Management
StatePublished - Jan 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Climate behavior change
  • Climate policy
  • Moral hazard

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Global and Planetary Change
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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