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Powering the Planet: A Townhall Meeting

Saturday, May 31, 2008
7:00 pm - 9:00 pm

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 RevkinEnvironmental Journalist, Author

Andrew Revkin is one of America’s most honored and experienced journalists and authors focused on environmental and human sustainability. He recently joined the staff of the National Geographic Society as strategic adviser for environmental and science journalism.

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Dan NoceraChemist

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.

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David KeithEnvironmental Scientist

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.

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F. Sherwood RowlandNobel Laureate in Chemistry

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.

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M. Glen KertzPlant Physiologist

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.

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Betsy TaylorSocial Activist

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.

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Saul GriffithEntrepreneur, Inventor, Writer

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.

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Shirley Ann JacksonPhysicist, President of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute

Described by Time Magazine as “perhaps the ultimate role model for women in science,” the Honorable Shirley Ann Jackson, Ph.D., has served as the 18th president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 1999.

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