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Think & Drink: Climate Change

————— April Presentation ——————

Topic: Clean Energy – What’s happened since we talked in February?
Speaker: Edith Newton Wilson, PhD


A lot has happened in renewable energy since February!

Our energy expert returns to update us on this rapidly changing industry and how it affects the us.

If you missed the February talk, this is your second chance to hear one of our most important presentations. If you attended the Feb presentation, there's plenty of new information you'll want to hear this month.


Earth scientists are acutely aware that our climate is changing, sea level is rising, and polar ice is melting at an alarming rate. How do we address the rising global need for energy while eliminating the majority of fossil fuel combustion that contributes to global warming? Consider the current global sources and uses of energy. Almost half of global energy is consumed by the industrial sector, while transportation accounts for another quarter. If clean affordable energy sources can be substituted for coal, oil and natural gas in these sectors, the remaining commercial and residential markets will follow. Simple mass balance indicates that the most prolific and renewable ultimate source of energy is the sun. Falling component costs along with improved storage technology are driving a burst of primary solar capture, especially in new markets. Along with wind, hydro, and geothermal, solar is reaching an economic threshold that fosters rapid market growth. Adoption of electric vehicles is proceeding apace in Europe, China and the United States. Additional transportation needs can be met by lighter fuel components once the economic puzzle of gas-to-liquids technology is solved. Coupled with cost decline, renewable resources are also – well – renewable. Replacement costs are negligible. This results in increasing global demand that is fed more efficiently each year by shrinking supply investment. The new energy business model is not one of massive upfront expenditure, long time-frames, high risk, and high rate of return that is shackled to aging infrastructure. Instead the world of abundant clean energy will be one of rapid deployment, low risk, low up-front capital investment, and distributed, lean infrastructure – if any. As geoscientists and engineers, we have opportunities to transfer our skills, technology and talents from fossil fuel exploration and production to the development of clean energy resources. Areas of applicable expertise range from risk assessment to strategic mineral exploration to natural gas production to environmental stewardship of all forms of energy production. We can also work to introduce solar pumps and vapor recovery units into existing oil fields in our current roles as petroleum professionals. Perhaps our most valuable skill is the creativity and thirst for discovery that we bring to the job. Energy scientists embrace risk and change. We are pioneers and wildcatters - now and always.

Think & Drink is like a TED Talk, but enhanced with alcohol. Each month, someone with a deep understanding of a specific STEM field will provide insight into their field, research, or related topic. Presentations are informal and discussion is encouraged.

Presented by The STEMcell Science Shop.

Think & Drink nights are every 2nd Thursday from 6:30-8:30 at Heirloom Rustic Ales on Kendall Whittier Main Street.


Earlier Event: April 7
Table Talk at Heirloom
Later Event: April 12
Dismondj and Xenogenius