M-RCBG Senior Fellow-Led Study Group: Wake Smith

The National Security Implications of the Emergence of Stratospheric Aerosol Injection Technologies from an American Perspective
Friday, April 9, 12:00-1:00PM
Zoom registration is required. Please use a harvard.edu email if available.

Stratospheric aerosol injection is a proposed climate intervention whereby aerosols might be deployed to deflect a small fraction of incoming sunlight.  It would not replace the need to eliminate greenhouse gas emissions, but could buy time for emissions reductions or reduce the intensity of some climate change impacts.  It remains a highly controversial concept, but is the subject of increasing attention and research.  Wake Smith has previously published some of the world’s most detailed descriptions of what SAI deployment might actually entail.  

He has recently embarked upon a new project to view these prospective SAI deployment scenarios through a US national security lens.  This study group will explore both the specious notions and the realistic threats that derive from such a perspective and the policy implications that arise therefrom.  A presentation will be followed by open discussion.  Skeptics welcome.

Wake Smith wearing glen plaid jacket and blue t-shirt in front of shelves of booksWake Smith is a Lecturer in Yale College, where he teaches what is understood to be the world’s first undergraduate survey course on climate engineering.  The core of that course will be published in book form in early 2022 by the Cambridge University Press.  As a Senior Fellow at the M-RCBG, he has published papers on the aeronautics, costs, and deployment logistics of stratospheric aerosol injection as well as on the proper governance of research into these technologies.  He finished his business career in private equity with New York based New State Capital.  He previously served as: Chairman and President of Pemco World Air Services; Chief Operating Officer of Atlas Air Worldwide Holdings; and President of the flight training division of Boeing.  He started his aviation career as a bankruptcy consultant, advising on the restructurings of much of the US airline industry after deregulation.  He holds a BA in History from Yale and an MBA from Harvard.  His faculty sponsor is Joseph Aldy, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School.  His faculty sponsor is Joseph Aldy, Professor of the Practice of Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School. Email: ​wakesmith@hks.harvard.edu