Keutsch Research Group | Harvard University
Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment
“…making quantitative measurements of some of the aerosol microphysics and atmospheric chemistry required for estimating the risks and benefits of solar geoengineering in large atmospheric models. SCoPEx will address questions about how particles interact with one another, with the background stratospheric air, and with solar and infrared radiation.”
Overview and Draft Terms of Reference
This section describes SCoPex management and the intentions of Harvard University and the SCoPEx team with regard to the formation of and interaction with the Advisory Committee.
SCoPEx Principal Investigator and Experiment Team
Principal Investigator (PI): Frank Keutsch (keutsch [at] seas.harvard.edu)
Mission scientist: David Keith (david_keith [at] harvard.edu)
Technical project manager: John Dykema (johnd [at] huarp.harvard.edu)
Governance project manager: Lizzie Burns (eburns [at] g.harvard.edu)
Members of the Search Committee
Chris Field, Stanford University
Peter Frumhoff, Union of Concerned Scientists
Jane Long, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (retired)
SCoPEx Project Objectives
Harvard University would like to ensure that the Stratospheric Controlled Perturbation Experiment (SCoPEx) contributes to building an international, transparent, and sustainable solar geoengineering research program that includes useful field experiments with appropriate governance.
The SCoPEx research team has two high-level objectives for the project:
- The team seeks to perform a set of atmospheric field experiments that improve understanding of solar geoengineering’s efficacy and risks; and, to contribute to the development of possible methods to improve efficacy and reduce risks.
- The team seeks to perform the experiments in a manner that exemplifies good governance, developing and implementing norms, mechanisms and practices that can serve as useful templates for possible future solar geoengineering field experiments.
The SCoPEx research team’s hope is that achieving these objectives will lead to increased support among diverse stakeholders for well-governed and scientifically-relevant field experiments.
The SCoPEx research team sought external advice for governing SCoPEx. The outcome of these conversations resulted in a draft terms of reference (ToR) for an independent Advisory Committee, to be revised in consultation with the Search Committee and Advisory Committee chair.
Intentions of Harvard University and the SCoPEx team
Harvard University and the SCoPEx experiment team intend to:
- take the Advisory Committee’s questions and recommendations with the utmost seriousness.
- respond publicly and in a timely manner to all the Advisory Committee’s public questions and recommendations.
- not initiate field experiments until after they have responded to the Advisory Committee’s questions and recommendations in its initial report.
- alter, delay, or cancel the experiment if, taking into account committee recommendations, Harvard University or the SCoPEx experiment team conclude that failing to do so would imperil Harvard’s goal of an international, transparent, and sustainable research program.
Transparency and Publicity
The composition and charge of a Search Committee for Chair of the Advisory Committee, the terms of reference and composition of the Advisory Committee, Committee reports and other materials as appropriate will be posted on the Harvard University website in a timely manner, in consultation with the Search and Advisory Committees.
Harvard University and the SCoPEx experiment team will not promote or draw attention to non-public statements of these committees or their members in the media or other public venues without the express written consent of Search and Advisory Committee members.
SCoPEx Search and Advisory Committees
To help inform and guide the SCoPEx project, Harvard University, under the auspices of the Dean of Engineering (Frank Doyle) and the Vice-Provost for Research (Richard McCullough), will establish an independent SCoPEx Advisory Committee.
Process for establishing the SCoPEx Advisory Committee
An independent Search Committee will support the establishment of the Advisory Committee. This is intended to help ensure its independence from the ScoPEx research team.
The mandate of the Search Committee is as follows:
- To advise Harvard University about the need for an Advisory Committee and the consequential attributes of that committee.
- To review the draft terms of reference (ToR) of the SCoPEx Advisory Committee and recommend adjustments to them.
- To identify and recommend one or more candidates to chair the SCoPEx Advisory Committee to the Harvard University Dean of Engineering and Vice Provost for Research.
- To assist the chair in identifying Advisory Committee members to be appointed by Harvard’s Dean of Engineering and Vice Provost for Research.
- To work with the proposed chair, Harvard’s Dean of Engineering, Vice Provost for Research, and the SCoPEx principal investigator to ensure that the Search Committee, the chair, and the principal investigator are satisfied with the final ToR.
- Service on the Search Committee is uncompensated. Search Committee service does not preclude serving on the Advisory Committee itself.
- The principal investigator will provide the Search Committee with a summary of external advice he has already received about Advisory Committee membership, but the Search Committee will not be bound by this advice or other suggestions the principal investigator may make.
- The Search Committee will attempt to identify a chair and complete the process of modifying the ToR by end of July 2018.
SCoPEx Advisory Committee Terms of Reference
The purpose of the Advisory Committee will be:
- To provide advice to the Harvard University Dean of Engineering, Vice Provost for Research, and the SCoPEx project principal investigator on research and governance of SCoPEx.
- To advise Harvard University and the SCoPEx project team on several arenas, including: (a) The scientific quality and importance of the proposed experiments, including scientific review and processes and standards for transparency; (b) Risks associated with the proposed research program, including environmental, legal, social and reputational risks; (c) Effectiveness of risk management including regulatory compliance management of environmental health and safety; (d) The need, objectives and possible formats for stakeholder engagement; and (e) Other issues as deemed necessary by the Advisory Committee.
- To provide a periodic public written evaluation of the experiment plan in the arenas described above.
- To ensure that mechanisms are established to share both research outcomes and governance lessons learned from SCoPEx with researchers and diverse stakeholders.
The Search Committee shall seek to identify an Advisory Committee chair who has deep experience and a reputation for balance in international environmental research and governance, and has no significant ties to the SCoPEx experiment team.
Committee Size and Composition
The Advisory Committee shall ideally have no more than ten members; include members from multiple countries, including the United States; have representation from a diverse range of institutions. Members may include former government officials as well as current or former employees of environmental NGOs, intergovernmental organizations, academic institutions, and other civil society groups. Members shall include individuals with relevant scientific, governance and public engagement expertise. The Advisory Committee shall include individuals with a range of views, including those who are skeptical of solar geoengineering field experiments such as SCoPEx.
- The committee will engage in formal and public communication with the SCoPEx experiment team. For example, the committee will receive a formal experiment plan from the experiment team and will produce a formal evaluation in a process that may involve several public iterations. Separately, the committee may publicly pose questions or recommendations to the experiment team.
- Committee deliberations can be private even though their formal statements will be made public.
- The committee will strive for consensus in its findings and recommendations but will present, as needed, dissenting views. It may be appropriate and useful, for example, to produce a primary report and one or more dissenting reports.
- The committee will produce an initial report and set of findings and recommendations in advance of any initiation of SCoPEx field experiments.
- The committee may conduct other activities, such as those related to stakeholder engagement, if they deem them necessary to implement good governance over the experiment.
- Service on the Advisory Committee is uncompensated. Harvard (SCoPEx) will cover expenses for travel, meeting logistics, and administrative support, as necessary.
- The Advisory Committee may decide to take on additional activities, such as expert meetings, stakeholder workshops or preparation of technical reports to conduct its work. Harvard University will cover costs up to a certain amount to be determined to support these activities.
- Outputs. The committee will deliver reports, recommendations, questions, and evaluations as appropriate. A first task of the Advisory Committee will be to define these needs and adjust them as necessary.
04 October 2018
The Manifesto signatories dispute the proclaimed benefits of geoengineering and point to the evidence that all proposed geoengineering technologies present high risks and, if deployed, many could even worsen the impacts of climate change. They call for, among other demands:
- A ban on all geoengineering field experiments and deployment.
- A stop to all open-air experiments, including: the SCoPEx project in Tucson, Arizona, which proposes to inject sulphate particles and other materials into the atmosphere to test their effectiveness at blocking the sun; the Ice911 project in Alaska, which would scatter millions of tiny glass bubbles over Arctic ice to slow melting and reflect sunlight; the Marine Cloud Brightening project in Monterey Bay, California, which would inject salt water into the clouds to whiten them and reflect sunlight; and the Oceaneos ocean fertilization project in Chile. All three US experiments are planned on original and traditional Indigenous territories.
- A stop to all large-scale Carbon Capture and Storage and Direct Air Capture projects because they perpetuate fossil fuel extraction and combustion, and a stop to all Bioenergy with Carbon Capture and Storage projects, which besides being unproven and not technically feasible would have grave consequences for land use, food sovereignty environment and biodiversity.
- Support for the diversity of alternatives to confront climate change that are already proven and less risky but are sidelined in climate change deliberations.
The movement against geoengineering was born in 2010, when more than 35,000 representatives from climate justice grassroots organizations and popular movements gathered at the World People’s Conference on Climate Change and the Rights of Mother Earth in Cochabamba, Bolivia, and declared their opposition to geoengineering, initiating the “Hands Off Mother Earth” Campaign (HOME Campaign) against geoengineering. Last month in San Francisco, at the Solidarity to Solutions Week devoted to grassroots solutions to climate change, a broad alliance, including the Climate Justice Alliance and the Indigenous Environmental Network, vowed to amplify and reinvigorate the HOME Campaign. This was deemed essential because of the growing presence of climate geoengineering in negotiations and among academics, including the proposals for open air testing of technologies.
A renewed international movement has been launched to stop geoengineering and to stand in solidarity with the communities and organizations resisting geoengineering experiments.
Thanks to RD for sharing this link with us 4ZG!