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According to the “Lesser of Two Evils Argument,” deployment of solar radiation management (SRM) geoengineering in a climate emergency would be morally justified because it likely would be the best option available. A prominent objection to this argument is that a climate emergency might constitute a genuine moral dilemma in which SRM would be impermissible even if it was the best option. However, while conceiving of a climate emergency as a moral dilemma accounts for some ethical concerns about SRM, it requires the controversial claim that there are genuine moral dilemmas, and it potentially undermines moral action guidance in emergency scenarios. Instead, it is better to conceive of climate emergencies as situations calling for agent-regret. This alternative allows us coherently to hold that SRM may be morally problematic even if it ought to be deployed in some scenario.


Copyright 2015 University of North Texas, Center for Environmental Philosophy. A post print has been archived with permission from the copyright holder.

Publication Title

Environmental Ethics

Published Citation

Svoboda, Toby. "Geoengineering, Agent-Regret, and the Lesser of Two Evils Argument." Environmental Ethics 37.2 (2015): 207-220. 10.5840/enviroethics201537218



Peer Reviewed