When the National Academy of Sciences released a pair of reports earlier this month on geoengineering—deliberate intervention in the climate system to counter global warming—it moved discussion of the controversial topic into the mainstream science community. The NAS-convened experts concluded that geoengineering is no silver bullet, but that further research is needed. David Keith, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics at Harvard School of Engineering and Applied Sciences and Professor of Public Policy at Harvard Kennedy School, has been a leading voice for assessing the risks and implications of large-scale deployment of geoengineering to help cool the planet. Keith’s 2013 book, A Case for Climate Engineering, lays out how geoengineering might fit into a larger program for managing climate change (complementing steps to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and devise adaptation strategies). He recently detailed a potential small-scale solar radiation management experiment in which chemicals would be dispersed in the high atmosphere to reflect sunlight away from the Earth’s surface. He has also suggested a scenario for analyzing the risks and benefits of geoengineering, and proposed frameworks for the governance of geoengineering testing by nation states.
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