Climate change is often seen as an issue of intergenerational equity - consumption now creates costs for future generations. However, radical mitigation now would reverse the problem, creating immediate costs for current generations, while the benefits would be primarily for future ones. This is a policy problem, as persuading those living now to bear the cost of changes whose benefits will mostly accrue after their deaths is politically difficult. The policy challenge is then how to temporally match costs to benefits, either by deferring mitigation costs, or by speeding up climatic benefits. Geoengineering may provide some help here, as it might enable climate change to be slowed more immediately, at a lower upfront cost, and allow a greater share of the mitigation and adaptation burden to be passed on to those in the future who will benefit most.
- Cost-benefit analysis
- Intergenerational equity
- Intergenerational justice
- Mitigation costs
- Negative-emission technologies (NETs)
- Solar radiation management (SRM)