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Press Release - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

Belfer Center Convenes Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence

| Jan. 22, 2019

CAMBRIDGE MA – Harvard Kennedy School’s Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs has convened the inaugural meeting of The Council on the Responsible Use of Artificial Intelligence (AI), a new effort to address critical questions about this far-reaching and rapidly evolving application for data and technology.  

Earthrise over the Moon

NASA/Bill Anders

Journal Article - Nature Sustainability

Policy Design for the Anthropocene

    Authors:
  • Thomas Sterner
  • Edward B. Barbier
  • Ian Bateman
  • Inge van den Bijgaart
  • Anne-Sophie Crépin
  • Ottmar Edenhofer
  • Carolyn Fischer
  • Wolfgang Habla
  • John Hassler
  • Olof Johansson-Stenman
  • Andreas Lange
  • Stephen Polasky
  • Johan Rockström
  • Henrik G. Smith
  • Will Steffen
  • James E. Wilen
  • Francisco Alpízar
  • Christian Azar
  • Donna Carless
  • Carlos Chávez
  • Jessica Coria
  • Gustav Engström
  • Sverker C. Jagers
  • Gunnar Köhlin
  • Åsa Löfgren
  • Håkan Pleijel
  • Amanda Robinson
| 2019

The authors examine the complexities of designing policies that can keep Earth within the biophysical limits favorable to human life.

Book Chapter - Springer Nature

The Art of Research: A Divergent/Convergent Thinking Framework and Opportunities for Science-Based Approaches

| 2018

Applying science to the current art of producing engineering and research knowledge has proven difficult, in large part because of its seeming complexity. The authors posit that the microscopic processes underlying research are not so complex, but instead are iterative and interacting cycles of divergent (generation of ideas) and convergent (testing and selecting of ideas) thinking processes.

iceberg in North Star Bay

NASA/Jeremy Harbeck

Presentation - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

International Collaboration in Arctic Science: Progress and Prospects

| Dec. 13, 2018

Professor John P. Holdren gave this presentation at the Session on 60 Years of Arctic & Antarctic Science at the American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting in Washington, D.C., on December 13, 2018.

View of the crescent moon through the top of the earth's atmosphere. Photographed above 21.5°N, 113.3°E by International Space Station crew Expedition 13 over the South China Sea, just south of Macau (NASA image ID: ISS013-E-54329).

NASA

Discussion Paper

Governance of Highly Decentralized Nonstate Actors: the Case of Solar Geoengineering

| November 2018

We here introduce the idea of highly decentralized solar geoengineering, plausibly done in form of small high-altitude balloons. While solar geoengineering has the potential to greatly reduce climate change, it has generally been conceived as centralized and state deployed. Potential highly decentralized deployment moves the activity from the already contested arena of state action to that of environmentally motivated nongovernmental organizations and individuals, which could disrupt international relations and pose novel challenges for technology and environmental policy. We explore its feasibility, political implications, and governance.

Sunset on the Indian Ocean

NASA

Journal Article - Environmental Research Letters

Stratospheric Aerosol Injection Tactics and Costs in the First 15 Years of Deployment

| 2018

We review the capabilities and costs of various lofting methods intended to deliver sulfates into the lower stratosphere. We lay out a future solar geoengineering deployment scenario of halving the increase in anthropogenic radiative forcing beginning 15 years hence, by deploying material to altitudes as high as ~20 km. After surveying an exhaustive list of potential deployment techniques, we settle upon an aircraft-based delivery system. Unlike the one prior comprehensive study on the topic (McClellan et al 2012 Environ. Res. Lett. 7 034019), we conclude that no existing aircraft design—even with extensive modifications—can reasonably fulfill this mission. However, we also conclude that developing a new, purpose-built high-altitude tanker with substantial payload capabilities would neither be technologically difficult nor prohibitively expensive. We calculate early-year costs of ~$1500 ton−1 of material deployed, resulting in average costs of ~$2.25 billion yr−1 over the first 15 years of deployment. We further calculate the number of flights at ~4000 in year one, linearly increasing by ~4000 yr−1. We conclude by arguing that, while cheap, such an aircraft-based program would unlikely be a secret, given the need for thousands of flights annually by airliner-sized aircraft operating from an international array of bases.

Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti

Eliza Grinnell/Harvard SEAS

News - Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs, Harvard Kennedy School

"Venky" Narayanamurti Honored with Bueche Award

    Author:
  • Leah Burrows
| Oct. 03, 2018

Professor Venkatesh "Venky" Narayanamurti is the Benjamin Peirce Research Professor of Technology and Public Policy at Harvard University, former dean of the Harvard John A. Paulson School of Engineering and Applied Sciences (SEAS), and former director of the Belfer Center's Science, Technology, and Public Policy Program. The award is one of the highest honors given by the National Academy of Engineering, and recognizes an engineer who has shown dedication in science and technology as well as active involvement in determining U.S. science and technology policy.

Solar panels at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory gather sunlight at the test facility

AP/Jack Dempsey

Journal Article - MRS Energy & Sustainability

Nurturing Transformative U.S. Energy Research: Two Guiding Principles

The authors raise for debate and discussion what in their opinion is a growing mis-control and mis-protection of U.S. energy research. They outline the origin of this mis-control and mis-protection, and propose two guiding principles to mitigate them and instead nurture research: (1) focus on people, not projects; and (2) culturally insulate research from development, but not science from technology.