Fifth Interdisciplinary Summer School on CE

Why do researchers disagree about climate engineering?

By Daniel Heyen and David Reichwein

Honest disagreement is often a good sign of progressMahatma Gandhi --

Don't worry, this is not an attempt to find evidence that Mahatma Gandhi was one of the first climate engineers. Nor do we want to speculate on the position he would have on limiting climate change by a large-scale technological intervention. Rather, his aphorism makes the important point that disagreement is a key factor in the evolution of knowledge. The organizers of this year's summer school on climate engineering think there is honest disagreement on various aspects of CE technologies, and that understanding the root causes of these disagreements is an important step forward.

Is stratospheric solar radiation management technically feasible, and what are limiting factors to its deployment? Should CE field experiments proceed and, if yes, what is the appropriate governance regime for those tests?

These are only two of several controversies among researchers that will be at the center of this year’s summer school. There is honest disagreement about those questions, underpinned by sound arguments on both sides. Disagreement calls for the formulation of researchable questions to make progress in understanding the nature of the problem. Accordingly, one crucial output of the school ought to be such a list of researchable questions.    

The school will be held in Heidelberg between July 28 and Aug 1 and is jointly organized by Heidelberg University, Harvard University, and the German Research Foundation Priority Program on Climate Engineering (SPP 1689). The 'Summer School's coming home': The first school in 2010 also took place in this lovely city before it was held in Banff (2011), Oxford (2012) and Harvard (2013).

The interdisciplinary summer school brings together young researchers and experienced scholars from a wide range of disciplines to discuss current developments in CE research and explore new paths.

The application deadline is March 21. For further information and to apply, please visit