Critique: Distinguishing morale hazard from moral hazard in geoengineering 


In the introduction to the paper ‘Distinguishing morale hazard from moral 
hazard in geoengineering’ (Andrew Lockley Independent scholar, D’Maris 
Coffman CPM, UCL Bartlett, London, UK-Environmental Law Review 2016, Vol. 
18(3) 194–204) the authors take the position that “It is therefore possible 
that the (sic) even the theoretical existence of geoengineering 
technologies results in a reduced urgency to cut emissions.”. This view is 
further expanded upon in the Discussion section's opening sentence:* One of 
the key issues in geoengineering is the idea that the existence of 
techniques for climate change engineering represent what we would classify 
as a morale hazard, namely that they reduce the political will to cut 
carbon emissions, or that they might make individuals or society less 
inclined to change behaviours.*

Such an *opinion*, although it is parroted by many, is simply a misleading *red 
herring* as a number of *Carbon Dioxide Removal* (CDR) technologies, inter 
alia, Advanced Weathering of Limestone, Biochar, Olivine, and Marine 
Biomass Production etc. have been largely available for vast scale 
deployment,* or have been deployed*, for around 10(+) years. Yet the 
theoretical*, or even actual,* existence of such *CDR* methods have had no 
discernible effect on the public's opinion of geoengineering or their 
behavior relative to it, one way or another. As such, this critique will 
take a close look at:

*a)* the scope of currently deployed/deployable CDR methods,

*b)* the reasons why the morale/moral hazard argument(s) are simply not 
applicable to a number of such CDR methods and or combinations of methods,

*c)* a few plausible reasons why so many authors, at both the peer reviewed 
level and media level, often find themselves making the conceptual mistakes 
reproduced within Mr. Lockley and Prof. Coffman’s work. 

Also, this critique will not involve itself with the discussion on the 
difference and/or distinction between the morale and moral hazard concepts, 
relative to geoengineering, as there are no obviously striking, or even 
slightly meaningful, difference and/or distinction to be found between the 
2 hazards...*within a number of the currently actionable CDR methods*. 
Therefore, this critique is not primarily an effort at pointing out *what* 
is wrong with the paper as much as it is an effort to point out *why *Lockley 
and Coffman got it wrong.

Finally, this critique will be posted in a 3 part series as the subjects to 
be covered are extensive in both volume and complexity. 

Michael Hayes 

On Wednesday, September 14, 2016 at 8:54:03 AM UTC-7, Andrew Lockley wrote:
> Distinguishing morale hazard from moral hazard in geoengineering 
> Andrew Lockley 
> Independent scholar 
> D’Maris Coffman 
> CPM, UCL Bartlett, London, UK 
> Abstract 
> Geoengineering is the deliberate modification of the climate system. It 
> has been discussed as a technique to 
> counteract changes expected as a result of Anthropogenic Global Warming 
> (AGW). Speculation has occurred that the possibility of geoengineering will 
> reduce or delay efforts to mitigate AGW. This possible delay or reduction 
> in mitigation has been described as ‘moral hazard’ by various authors. We 
> investigate the definitions and use of the term ‘moral hazard’, and the 
> related (but significantly different) concept of ‘morale hazard’, in 
> relevant law, economic and insurance literatures. We find that ‘moral 
> hazard’ has been generally misapplied in discussions of geoengineering, 
> which perhaps explains unexpected difficulties in detecting expected 
> effects experimentally. We clarify relevant usage of the terms, identifying 
> scenarios that can properly be described as moral hazard (malfeasance), and 
> morale hazard (lack of caution or recklessness). We note generally the 
> importance of correctly applying this distinction 
> when discussing geoengineering. In conclusion, we note that a proper 
> consideration of the risks of both 
> moral and morale hazards allows us to easily segment framings for both 
> geoengineering advocacy and the 
> advocate groups who rely on these framings. We suggest mnemonics for 
> groups vulnerable to moral hazard 
> (Business as Usuals) and morale hazard (Chicken Littles) and suggest the 
> development of an experimental 
> methodology for validating the distinction thus drawn. 
> Keywords 
> Geoengineering, moral hazard, morale hazard, carbon dioxide removal, 
> greenhouse gas removal, negative 
> emissions technology, solar radiation management (SRM)

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