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David Keith

Mailing address

Pierce Hall 123
29 Oxford Street
School of Engineering and Applied Sciences
Cambridge, MA, 02138

Website

David Keith

Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Contact:
Telephone: 403-775-6162
Email: david_keith@harvard.edu
Website: http://keith.seas.harvard.edu/

 

Experience

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
Email: xforbez@seas.harvard.edu
Telephone: 857-600-8131

 

 

By Date

 

2016

June 16, 2016

"Toward a More Reflective Planet"

Op-Ed, Project Syndicate

By David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School and Gernot Wagner

"China has initiated a limited research program on albedo modification. The U.S. has not. Given that albedo modification is the kind of technology that necessitates an open, transparent, and international research effort — precisely the kind of effort in which the U.S. excels — this is a serious failing."

 

 

Pixabay

January 29, 2016

"What’s the right temperature for the Earth?"

Op-Ed, The Washington Post

By David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Imagine being able to control the temperature of the Earth like a home thermostat, turning it down a few notches to reduce the effects of global warming. That’s the goal of solar geoengineering. By spraying aerosols into the stratosphere, we could block a fraction of inbound sunlight and temporarily cool the Earth.

But just as home thermostats are notorious for setting off domestic squabbles — she bumps it up to 72, he ratchets it down to 64 — solar geoengineering could spark serious conflicts, ranging from sanctions to war between world powers.

 

 

Fall/Winter 2015-2016

"Paris Climate Conference 2015: A key step in stopping climate?"

Newsletter Article, Belfer Center Newsletter

By Robert N. Stavins, Albert Pratt Professor of Business and Government; Member of the Board; Director, Harvard Project on Climate Agreements and David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

Was the Paris Climate Conference of 2015 a key step in stopping climate change? We asked the Belfer Center's Robert Stavins and David Keith to give us their answers to that question. They agreed to disagree in some of their answers and comments.

 

2015

November 30, 2015

"Try Solar Geoengineering"

Op-Ed, CNN.com

By David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

"It is not a substitute for cutting emissions — it is a supplement. We can't keep using the atmosphere as a waste dump for carbon and expect to have good climate, no matter what we do to reflect away some sunlight."

 

 

September 22, 2015

"The Real Bruce Carson Scandal"

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."

 

 

Creative Commons

2015

"How Much Bulk Energy Storage is Needed to Decarbonize Electricity?"

Journal Article, Energy & Environmental Science

By Hossein Safaei and David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

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.

 

 

Erin Magee/DFAT

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

By Melody Guan, Yifan Wu and David Keith, Professor of Public Policy, Harvard Kennedy School

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....

 

 

Wikimedia CC

January 29, 2015

"What's the Right Temperature for the Earth?"

Op-Ed, The 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."

 

2013

January 2013

"The Fate of an Engineered Planet"

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.

 
Events Calendar

We host a busy schedule of events throughout the fall, winter and spring. Past guests include: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former Vice President Al Gore, and former Soviet Union President Mikhail Gorbachev.