Energy innovations and solutions for a sustainable urban environment
Energy innovations and solutions for a sustainable urban environment
James P. Clark, age 47, is currently founding chairman and CEO of the World Technology Network (www.wtn.net), a curated global community of over 1,000 of the peer-selected most innovative individuals and organizations in science and technology, elected annually through the World Technology Awards. The most recent Awards were presented at the United Nations at the close of the 2011 World Technology Summit, held in association with TIME magazine, CNN, Fortune, among others, in New York at the TIME Conference Center. The World Technology Summit & Awards is a two-day, global gathering of the WTN membership (primarily winners/finalists from previous World Technology Award cycles), as well as World Technology Award nominees. The WTN has also convened the World Energy Technologies Summit (WETS) at UNESCO headquarters in Paris in 2004, and another WETS in partnership with TIME at the TIME Conference Center in 2010, as well as other events in cities around the world.
Educated at Wesleyan University (CT.) and Cambridge University (UK), Clark has served in a wide variety of leadership roles across business, politics, technology, academia, and the non-profit sector. A serial entrepreneur, Clark's first venture, a clearinghouse for professional careers in the non-profit sector, was founded at Wesleyan University in the late 1980s, and then green-housed, by invitation, at Harvard University, where Clark was appointed to the faculty. In 1992, Clark next served as Director the Non-Profit Sector & National Service in Little Rock, Arkansas, for then-Governor Bill Clinton's successful Presidential campaign. During the Presidential Transition period after the election, Clark co-developed the Presidential Transition Roundtable Series, bringing experts together to examine key issues, including Northern Ireland, Entrepreneurship, The Politics of Inclusion, and Homelessness. In 1993, he started one of the country's first Internet consulting firms, whose main client was another start-up called AOL, and which was focused on bringing online technology to the non-profit sector. In 1997, he founded the World Technology Network.
It would be great if we lived in a world where most major energy, environmental, and political decisions were made based on facts alone and where the facts caused us to make the right decisions every time. Unfortunately, we do not live in that world, but we can try to get closer to that world through actions catalyzed through thoughtful dialogue such as via this Energy For Tomorrow series. The facts: Modern civilization runs on enormous amounts energy, largely carbon-based. And, it is likely to continue to require doing so for decades while we switch over to renewables and/or new as yet-undiscovered energy technologies. Perhaps, too, our rises in consumption will be partially mitigated by rises in energy efficiency. In addition, of course, we have the massive challenge of human-caused climate change and its likely impact on the planet and its ecosystems, not to mention the politicization of that issue. The fact is that we face some daunting facts.
There has been great progress in efficiency and the use of renewables is growing very rapidly (albeit from a very tiny proportional base). Continued economic growth in the most advanced economies as well as those in the developing world (where it has taken billions out of poverty and which imperative cannot be denied to those still in poverty) will continue to fuel the growth in energy consumption in the coming decades. Some estimates state that more than half of the energy used in the world since the start of the industrial revolution has occurred in only the past two decades. By 2050, global energy demand is expected to double or even triple.
Given the economic AND environmental repercussions, the future of energy must encompass several key factors. It must focus on: a dramatic increase in renewable/clean energy consumption; prioritize efficiency; encourage massive capital investments in technological innovation (including in radical and blue-sky concepts); alter the century-old monopoly grid systems and the antiquated policies that perpetuate them; better integrate new sources into the existing energy infrastructure; and, above all else, ensure our environmental policies are neither based on doing nothing or doing just enough to appear to be doing something when its not enough. The future of energy is the future of human civilization. And, the future of energy is ours to determine... with personal and political decisions based on the facts as we know and gather them. Can we face the facts? Can we act in time? The stakes could not possibly be higher.
Winner James Mack was invited to attend FORTUNE's Brainstorm Tech in Aspen in July. Click here for a summary of the panel 'Innovation transforms the enterprise' featuring Shell's Chief Scientist Jose Bravo, or watch the full video here.
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Jesse Jenkins, Breakthrough Institute
Sheeraz Haji, Cleantech Group
Jigar Shah, Carbon War Room
Thomas R. Casten, Recycled Energy Development LLC
Jeffrey Serfass, Technology Transition Corporation
Kateri Callahan, Alliance To Save Energy
Albert Teich, American Association for the Advancement of Science
Stanford University, Department of Mechanical Engineering
Yale University, School of Forestry and Environmental Studies
Imperial College London, The Faculty of Engineering
University of Michigan, Ross School of Business
Columbia University, School of International and Public Affairs
IE Business School
Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIMA)
Indian School of Business
National University of Singapore, Faculty of Engineering
University of California, Berkeley, College of Engineering