Global energy systems have undergone numerous transitions over human history—from wood to coal, from animals to automobiles, from candles to electric lighting. Catalysts for these changes include discovery of new energy resources, new energy conversion technologies, limitations on material and water availability, and environmental benefits from less polluting and safer energy options. Today, we are poised for yet another energy transition. Driven by ever growing global energy demand, concerns over providing affordable and secure energy supplies, the need to reduce CO2 emissions, constraints on fresh water supplies, and discovery of new energy conversion technologies—we have embarked on a transition to a low-carbon energy system that relies more heavily on renewable energy resources. This talk will present an energy plan for the 21st century based on the ground-breaking technology and policy research taking place today.
Sally Benson (BC ’77) is the Director of the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University and a Professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering.
This Silver Science Lecture was co-sponsored by BCRW and the Department of Environmental Science.