Scott Institute for Energy Innovation

Assessing and reducing the risks of solar geoengineering

September 11, 2017

4:30 p.m. - 6:00 p.m.

Scott Hall, Marquis Conference Room 5201


Professor Keith will discuss new results suggesting it may be possible to implement solar geoengineering using stratospheric aerosols without ozone loss while significantly reducing some other important side effects. Estimates of the risks and efficacy of solar geoengineering are deeply uncertain. Accurate physically-based models along with laboratory and in situ experiments will be needed to improve estimates of the efficacy and risks of proposed solar geoengineering methods. As an example, Keith will discuss his team's ongoing laboratory experiments and plans for small perturbative outdoor experiments. Governance poses the greatest challenge for solar geoengineering: Keith will review some recent work on governance of research and deployment of solar geoengineering and argue in favor of an international open-access and interdisciplinary research program.


David Keith has worked near the interface between climate science, energy technology, and public policy for twenty-five years. He took first prize in Canada's national physics prize exam, won MIT's prize for excellence in experimental physics, and was one of TIME magazine's Heroes of the Environment. David is Professor of Applied Physics in Harvard’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Public Policy in the Harvard Kennedy School, and founder at Carbon Engineering, a company developing technology to capture of CO2 from ambient air to make carbon-neutral hydrocarbon fuels. Best known for work on the science, technology, and public policy of solar geoengineering, David is developing an interfaculty research initiative on solar geoengineering at Harvard.

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