The shock of climate change has spurred a worldwide quest to power the entire planet with clean, renewable energy. But is this goal realistic, and if so, how fast can such a dramatic transformation be achieved?
In this sweeping town hall meeting moderated by New York Times environmental reporter Andrew Revkin, pioneering scientists presented research at the vanguard of solar, wind, geothermal and algae/biofuel energy, while conservationists and high-level policy-makers provided additional perspectives on the challenges and opportunities presented by this urgent global problem.
Andrew Revkin is the senior fellow for environmental understanding at Pace University’s Academy for Applied Environmental Studies and writes the Dot Earth blog for The New York Times. A prize-winning journalist, online communicator, and author, he has spent nearly three decades covering subjects ranging from the assault on the Amazon to the troubled relationship of climate science and politics.
From 1995 through 2009, he covered the environment for The Times as a staff reporter. His work on climate change has won most of the major awards for science journalism and a John Chancellor Award from Columbia University for sustained journalistic excellence. Revkin has been a pioneer in multimedia communication, blogging, and shooting still and video imagery in far-flung places. He has also carried his journalism to a new generation in The North Pole Was Here: Puzzles and Perils at the Top of the World, the first account of Arctic climate change written for the whole family. His other books include The Burning Season and Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast.
Revkin lives in the Hudson River Valley with his wife and two sons. In spare moments, he is a performing songwriter and plays in a folk-roots band, Uncle Wade.
Chemist Dan Nocera is developing ways to derive clean renewable solar energy by replicating basic chemical reactions similar to those used by plants in the process of photosynthesis. A vocal advocate of solar power, he is the Henry Dreyfus Professor of Energy and a professor of chemistry at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
A leading thinker on geoengineering and a prize-winning physicist, David Keith works at the interface between climate science, energy technology and public policy. He is particularly interested in finding viable ways to capture and store CO2 including the direct capture of CO2 from the atmosphere.
The late F. Sherwood Rowland studied the Earth’s atmosphere in remote locations from Alaska to New Zealand, in highly polluted cities, and in areas with special conditions such as burning forests. He was best known for the discovery that chlorofluorocarbons contribute to ozone depletion, which earned him the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
Plant physiologist and inventor M. Glen Kertz has been a global leader in the fields of molecular genetics, plant tissue and cell culture for over 35 years. He is president and director of research and development for Valcent Products Inc., a company aiming to bring to market algae-to-biofuel technology.
Betsy Taylor is the president of the board of directors of the non-profit organization 1Sky, founded in 2007 to mobilize a grass-roots campaign demanding federal action to reverse climate change. She has spent more than 20 years leading efforts to organize, fund and advise groups devoted to promoting energy conservation and community building.
Saul Griffith is the President and Chief Scientist at Makani Power, a company that is seeking to harness clean energy from high-altitude wind. He is a 2007 MacArthur Award-winning inventor, entrepreneur and writer.
Shirley Ann Jackson is President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. She served as Chairman of the U. S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission under the Clinton Administration and presently sits on President Obama’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. She received the 2007 Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board for her lifetime of contributions to scientific research, education and public policy.