David Keith (scientist)

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For the actor/director, see David Keith.

David W. Keith is Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics for the Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS) and Professor of Public Policy for the Harvard Kennedy School at Harvard University.[1] He is also Executive Chairman of Carbon Engineering.[2]

Keith’s research has spanned several domains, including climate-related technology assessment and policy analysis, technology development, atmospheric science, and physics.

Keith has worked on solar geoengineering since 1992, when he wrote one of the first assessments of the technology and its policy implications.[3] Since Keith’s 1992 paper, which introduced a structured comparison of cost and risk, and a later review paper that first described the moral hazard and set geoengineering in the post-war history of weather control, Keith has sought answers to the questions:

  • How unequal? – First quantitative analysis of regional inequality of solar geoengineering.[4]
  • How to reduce risks? – New method to reduce the amount of sulfur needed for a given radiative forcing;[5] and, a novel class of self-levitated particles that might limit ozone loss.[6]
  • What does the public think? – First large-scale survey of public perception.[7]
  • How to regulate? – Proposed two-threshold system that combines a deployment moratoria with a pathway for regulating small-scale research.[8][9]
  • How to evaluate trade-offs? – Early economic analysis of optimal decisions under uncertainty and a value-of-information analysis while supervising the first economics PhD to focus on geoengineering.[10][9]

In 2013, Keith released a book, A Case for Climate Engineering, detailing a controversial strategy for slowing climate change. The book’s publisher’s blurb states: “A leading scientist long concerned about climate change, David Keith offers no naíve proposal for an easy fix to what is perhaps the most challenging question of our time. But he argues that after decades during which very little progress has been made in reducing carbon emissions, we must put climate engineering on the table and consider it responsibly. ...This book provides a clear and accessible overview of the costs and risks, and how climate engineering might fit into a larger program for managing climate change.”[11]

He has also contributed to assessments focused on geoengineering. Keith was a member of the working group for UK Royal Society's 2009 report[12] as well as the Bipartisan Policy Center Report.[13] In 2010, Keith testified before committees of the US Congress and the UK Parliament. He presented to US National Academy meetings in 2000, 2009 and 2013 and was coauthor of the geoengineering sub-chapter (WG 2, 4.7) of the Third IPCC Report and served AR5.[9]

Keith has been one of the scientists most mentioned in discussions among those who are associated with the chemtrail conspiracy theory.

Keith has been featured on the Discovery Channel,[14] did an interview on BBC News HARDTalk in November 2011,[15][16] has participated in TED talks in September 2007,[17] participated in a debate at the Royal Geographical Society in 2009,[18] and appeared in a documentary on geoengineering currently under production.[10] He also promoted his geoengineering idea to slow climate change by spraying reflective particles into the upper atmosphere on The Colbert Report.[19]


  1. ^ "Harvard Kennedy School - David Keith". Hks.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  2. ^ "People — Carbon Engineering". Carbonengineering.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  3. ^ "A Serious Look at Geoengineering" (PDF). American Geophysical Union (Keith.seas.harvard.edu) 73: 289 and 292–293. July 7, 1992. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  4. ^ "A simple model to account for regional inequalities in the effectiveness of solar radiation management - Springer". Link.springer.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  5. ^ "Efficient formation of stratospheric aerosol for climate engineering by emission of condensible vapor from aircraft" (PDF). Geophysical Research Letters (Keith.seas.harvard.edu) 37. 2010. doi:10.1029/2010GL043975. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  6. ^ "Photophoretic levitation of engineered aerosols for geoengineering" (PDF). Pnas.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  7. ^ "Public understanding of solar radiation management - IOPscience". Iopscience.iop.org. 2011-10-24. doi:10.1088/1748-9326/6/4/044006. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  8. ^ "End the Deadlock on Governance of Geoengineering Research" (PDF). Keith.seas.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  9. ^ a b c "Solar Geoenginering — David Keith". Keith.seas.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  10. ^ a b "Climate policy under uncertainty: a case for solar geoengineering - Springer". Link.springer.com. 2012-05-17. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  11. ^ Keith, David. "A Case for Climate Engineering | The MIT Press". Mitpress.mit.edu. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  12. ^ [1][dead link]
  13. ^ "Task Force on Climate Remediation Research" (PDF). Bipartisanpolicy.org. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  14. ^ "Geo-engineering: Removing carbon from air - Discovery Channel". Geo-engineering.blogspot.com. 2008-10-23. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  15. ^ "BBC News Channel - HARDtalk, David Keith, environmental scientist". Bbc.co.uk. 2011-11-14. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  16. ^ "The original David Kieth Interview on BBC Hard talk show Host - Stephen Sackur". YouTube. 2012-01-22. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  17. ^ "David Keith: A critical look at geoengineering against climate change | TED Talk". TED.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30. 
  18. ^ [2][dead link]
  19. ^ "David Keith - Video Clip | Comedy Central". Cc.com. Retrieved 2015-09-30.