Fuel

Fuel

Challenges in energy, food, water, and sustainability

Background

Given our rapidly developing industrial countries and increasingly technology-driven economy, global energy demands continue to grow. We face a dual challenge: doubling the world’s energy supply by 2050, in order to meet rising demand created by population growth and rising standards of living in developing nations, while simultaneously reducing carbon emissions associated with present and future energy production. As living standards improve for many across the world, total global energy demand could rise by up to 80 percent by midcentury from its level in 2000, according to a report on the world’s energy future from Shell Global.

The growing population also demands a greater supply of nourishing food and clean water. Yet food production already contributes nearly 30 percent of all greenhouse-gas emissions. Moreover, crop yields are already dropping, and with changing precipitation patterns and rising temperatures, it’s not at all clear that our current major crops, which feed the world, can even survive in the world of 2050–2100.

A range of energy sources and production techniques and technologies will be necessary to supply the power, food, and water we will need by midcentury. We must find ways to generate, transmit, and store energy from cleaner sources, such as solar and wind, and foster innovative approaches to nuclear energy. We must develop secure, energy-efficient and environmentally smart ways to produce food and distribute clean water.

To achieve these goals, we will need to make technical advances that take the political, cultural, and economic dimensions of these issues into account. We will need to create palatable economic and policy incentives for corporate and public investment in low-carbon energy sources. As important, we must address the damage that has already been done to the environment by mitigating the impact of climate change, and we must seek ways to prevent it from progressing further.

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Challenges

These are the problems we’ve been addressing in the Fuel pillar:

How do we remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a way that is scalable, economical, and ethical?

How do we remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere in a way that is scalable, economical, and ethical?

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How can new technologies (including digital currencies like Bitcoin) be used to put a price on carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases?

How can new technologies (including digital currencies like Bitcoin) be used to put a price on carbon emissions and other greenhouse gases?

Submit proposal 

Upcoming Events

Solve: Fuel

MIT Media Lab | 2:00-3:30pm hosted by Solve

Solve’s Fuel pillar addresses challenges in energy, food, water, and sustainability, including the need to reduce greenhouse gases and how to leverage technology to set a price on carbon emissions.

You have an exciting opportunity to join our community of technologists, philanthropists, business leaders, policymakers, and change agents to help create solutions to Fuel pillar challenges. We are now actively seeking solutions to the two Fuel challenges, which are co-hosted by MIT’s notable Climate CoLab. Go here to learn more: solvecolab.mit.edu.

Be sure to attend Solve@HUBweek on Wednesday, September 28, when Solve: Fuel finalists selected by a distinguished panel of judges will present their proposed solutions to the refugee education challenge.

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Solve: Fuel Closing Keynote & Reception

MIT Media Lab | 4:00-6:30pm co-hosted by Climate CoLab & Solve

The finale of the exciting Crowds & Climate conference’s first day will be a session and reception hosted by Solve and Climate CoLab at the MIT Media Lab on the evening of Wednesday, September 28.

This session will kick off with a keynote address from a nationally known climate change innovator. The keynote will be the culmination of a day of events focused specifically on innovation and the potential for new, crowd-based technologies–such as crowdsourcing, virtual collaboration, and online communities– to help the world more effectively tackle climate change.

You won’t want to miss this closing session and reception, which is sure to be a thought-provoking and inspiring conclusion to the Crowds & Climate Wednesday sessions.

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