Complementing CO2 emission reduction by solar radiation management might strongly enhance future welfare
Solar radiation management (SRM) has been proposed as a means to reduce global warming in spite of high greenhouse-gas concentrations and to lower the chance of warming-induced tipping points. However, SRM may cause economic damages and its feasibility is still uncertain. To investigate the trade-off between these (economic) gains and damages, we incorporate SRM into a stochastic dynamic integrated assessment model and perform the first rigorous cost–benefit analysis of sulfate-based SRM under uncertainty, treating warming-induced climate tipping and SRM failure as stochastic elements. We find that within our model, SRM has the potential to greatly enhance future welfare and merits being taken seriously as a policy option. However, if only SRM and no CO2 abatement is used, global warming is not stabilised and will exceed 2 K. Therefore, even if successful, SRM can not replace but only complement CO2 abatement. The optimal policy combines CO2 abatement and modest SRM and succeeds in keeping global warming below 2 K.