How A Collaborative Effort Can Prevent A Worst Case Climate Scenario

The term “global energy crisis” still sounds like a vague future scenario, but over the last decade, science, policy and the public have slowly come to agree that the threat is real and taking shape right before our eyes. Today, most of our energy needs, roughly 80%, rely on fossil fuels: oil, coal and gas. The worldwide energy demand is expected to grow by 35-40% in the next 25 years, as economies in emerging countries, but also in the developed industrial nations, continue to grow and globally rising standards of living cause higher per capita energy consumption. Hand in hand with this development, the amount of carbon dioxide emitted into the atmosphere grows to dangerous levels. Just before the UN Climate Summit in 2014, a study revealed that more carbon pollution was spewed into the air in 2013 than ever before. Even though climate models vary on the How and When, it is clear that increasing greenhouse gas emissions will sooner or later result in a warming of the planet – with vast and irreversible consequences. Chemist Nate Lewis is a pioneer in artificial photosynthesis and an international authority on global energy, having served as member of countless governmental panels and studies about clean energy, and now leading the dedicated research department at Caltech. At Falling Walls he provides a unique occasion to understand how we all as members of the scientific, political, technological and civil society need to cooperate in order to facilitate the one and only priority of our times: save the planet.

Nate Lewis, an allrounder-chemist has been on the faculty at the California Institute of Technology since 1988 and has served as Professor since 1991. His research group, the Lewis Research Group, is developing solar fuels technologies, discovering new semiconductors and catalysts, controlling the growth and surfaces of semiconductors, integrating components into working photoelectrochemical cells, and developing inexpensive low-power vapor sensors. He has also served as the Principal Investigator of the Beckman Institute Molecular Materials Resource Center at Caltech since 1992. Dr. Lewis has published over 300 papers and is currently the Editor-in-Chief of the Royal Society of Chemistry’s journal Energy & Environmental Science. In 2010 Rolling Stone magazine named him #17 on their “Top 100 Agents of Change” list. He received the Fresenius Award in 1990, the ACS Award in Pure Chemistry in 1991, the Orton Memorial Lecture award in 2003, and the Princeton Environmental Award in 2003. From his many roles in working with the US Energy Department’s Innovation Hub and the state of California on the Energy crisis vs. CO2 emission problem Lewis has an expert grip on the topic of global energy perspectives.

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