Pierce Hall 123
29 Oxford Street
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Cambridge, MA, 02138
Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
David Keith has worked near the interface between climate science, energy technology, and public policy for twenty years. He took first prize in Canada's national physics prize exam, won the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's prize for excellence in experimental physics, and was listed as one of TIME magazine's Heroes of the Environment 2009 (article). David's academic appointments are at Harvard where he serves as the Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics in the School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Professor of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. David divides his time between Boston and Calgary where he serves as president of Carbon Engineering—a start-up company developing industrial scale technologies for capture of CO2 from ambient air.
Assistant: Xiomara Forbez
September 22, 2015
Op-Ed, Toronto Star
By David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
"Over decades, Canadian governments have emasculated or killed institutions that gave independent advice on science and technology so that they are now among the weakest in the G7. Federal and provincial governments increasingly demand that research funding be tied to matching money from industry, so work that threatens industry's interests does not get funded. It's a good idea to tie some applied work in engineering to industrial interests, but this requirement must not apply to policy analysis."
Journal Article, Energy & Environmental Science
High cost and technical immaturity of bulk (multi-hour) electricity storage (BES) systems are often cited as major hurdles to increasing the penetration of intermittent renewables. The authors use a simple model to assess the economics of BES under carbon emissions constraints.
April 17, 2015
"How Much Attention Does Climate Change Warrant? A Conversation With Climate Scientist and Energy Technology and Public Policy Expert David Keith"
Op-Ed, The Huffington Post
HEA: You have conducted research on whether patents on solar geoengineering technologies could be banned and advocated for keeping these technologies in the public domain. What are the dangers of privatizing solar geoengineering?
Keith: With incredible technologies like this, you could destroy the world. You don't want private enterprise making nuclear weapons, and you don't want that with geoengineering. The decisions could impact the whole world and need to be taken as legitimately and as transparently as possible....
January 29, 2015
Op-Ed, Washington Post
By Andy Parker, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, July 31, 2014–November 2014; Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, August 20, 2012–July 30, 2014 and David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School
"...[A]ttention is turning to solar geoengineering, also known as solar radiation management. Although the concept of injecting sulfur dioxide into the stratosphere has so far been tested only using computer simulations, there's high confidence that it would work to cool the Earth because it would mimic the well-understood cooling effect of large volcanic eruptions."
Journal Article, Scientific American, issue 1, volume 308
By David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Andy Parker, Former Associate, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, July 31, 2014–November 2014; Research Fellow, Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program, August 20, 2012–July 30, 2014
Solar engineering and other exceptionally ambitious new technologies to deal with the reality of rising global temperatures come riddled with uncertainties. To illustrate how complex the problem is and what kind of challenges lie ahead, here are three contrasting, and somewhat fantastical, scenarios.