A question raised by the normally sensible Geoengineering Politics. They come to an odd conclusion:
any damages caused by SRM [Solar Radiation Management, I believe – W] would essentially be the negative side effects of a response measure intended to remediate harms caused by excessive fossil fuel use, and fossil fuel companies have been the primary direct beneficiaries of this activity, it stands to reason that they should be the ones to pay for its cleanup
and offer an analogy:
This is precisely how the international oil spill liability regime works–the International Oil Pollution Compensation (IOPC) Funds, financed exclusively by oil companies, have paid out more than $700 million in compensation since 1978
Now there is a problem with this analogy, or rather two. The first and most obvious is that oil spills are caused directly by the oil companies, and dealing with them is a cost of their operation (or they could tighten up their procedures and spill less, which would also cost, but differently). You could argue that paying for SRM is analogous to paying for oil spills, but paying for getting it wrong is stretching things a bit. If some (company, or govt) puts up mirror-satellites to reduce incoming solar, and accidentally fries Australia, is that really the fault of those who put the CO2 in the atmosphere? This is perhaps part of the fun that things like geoengineering will inevitably lead to. After all, GW will have benefits as well as costs, so sorting out whether those who would have benefited are allowed to sue those who prevented that benefit would be fun.
The second problem is that spilling fuel is a consequence of extracting or transporting oil, but not a necessary consequence. Thus its reasonable to expect the companies to minimise it, and to fine (or otherwise force them to pay up to clear up the mess) if they do spill. Whereas emitting CO2 (most fossil fuel is inevitably going to get burned at some point in its use cycle) is essentially a necessary consequence of extracting and selling fuels.
I’m also dubious about the assertion that in regard to excessive fossil fuel use, … fossil fuel companies have been the primary direct beneficiaries of this activity. As I said before, I think the primary beneficiary has been the consumer of the fossil fuels, not the companies.
In other news
* The Free Speech Brigade Suppresses Free Speech – Barry Bickmore tries to pin down the jelly that is people who feel “unease” about the Mann-vs-Steyn lawsuit, and finds that even Professor Stephen L. Carter, of the Yale Law School is quite wibbly-wobbly and finds great trouble in saying what he really means. Which isn’t very surprising, because he’s trying to defend the indefensible.
* ATTP offers A quick science lesson for Lord Lawson who is (as you’d expect of anyone associated with the GWPF) in desperate need of education. Which brings us neatly on to
* Tamino, who finds “skeptics” who are Making up stuff. There’s a common thread to all this, no?
Speaking of utter drivel, I found Derek CAVEMAN SCIENTIST desperately trying to understand the GHE. Well, not even that really: he’s trying to understand the simplified 1-layer atmosphere model. But he can’t do maths, and doesn’t appear to understand what all the squiggly symbols are, so he’s doomed. Its more sad than anything else.
Update: another view
So, my conclusion was that we’re unlikely to try geoengineering any tmie soon: even if we could get the physical problems out of the way, there are massive legal ones too. However, DA points out another side of the issue: if we do once start geoengineering, are we likely to just stop at just fixing up problems?