Geoengineering, moral hazard, and trust in climate science: evidence from a survey experiment in Britain

Malcolm Fairbrother*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

29 Citations (Scopus)
464 Downloads (Pure)


Geoengineering could be taken by the public as a way of dealing with climate change without reducing greenhouse gas emissions. This paper presents the results of survey experiments testing whether hearing about solar radiation management (SRM) affects people’s support for taxing polluting energy and/or their trust in climate science. For a nationally representative sample of respondents in Britain, I found that receiving a brief introduction to SRM had no impact on most people’s willingness to pay taxes, nor on their trust in climate science. Hearing about this form of geoengineering therefore appears unlikely to erode support for emissions reductions. Specifically for political conservatives asked first about paying taxes, moreover, hearing about SRM increased trust in climate science. These and other results of the experiments also provide partial support for the theory that conservatives’ lower trust in climate science generally stems from their aversion to regulatory action by the state.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)477-489
Number of pages13
JournalClimatic Change
Issue number3
Early online date3 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2016


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