With current consumption and production practices contributing to a climate in crisis, it is imperative we design clean technological solutions that will work to ensure a future for our delicate ecosystems.

The Ongoing Challenge:

Human activities have been a contributing factor to our planet's declining ecological health since the advent of the Industrial Revolution, with these contributions compounding each passing decade. Current greenhouse gas emissions are at the highest levels in human history, resulting in unprecedented environmental pressures that will have far-reaching social and economic consequences if not mitigated. With increasing urgency to combat the negative environmental impacts of human production and consumption cycles, innovations in the form of clean technology, or ‘Clean Tech’ have responded to this emergent need.
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Energy Systems
Humanity’s energy demands have continued to rise, along with its subsequent emissions. From 2015 to 2019, global final energy consumption grew by 6.6%, CO2 emissions from the global energy system grew by 4.6%, and total GHG emissions from energy supply rose by 2.7%. Nearly 2 million Americans also have jobs that are directly connected to non-renewable energy production.

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Industry
Industrial emissions have been growing faster since 2000 than emissions in any other sector, driven by increased materials extraction and production. While material efficiency and circular economy solutions have been proven to reduce emissions, primary plastics still remain the most in-demand material used in manufacturing.
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Transport
While electromobility has recently been on the rise, the transport sector alone still totals to 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. This sector also employs approximately 10% of all Americans, with a relatively high portion of employees living below the official poverty level. Innovations in infrastructure, railways, aviation, and road traffic have also been highlighted as critical to ensure global climate transition goals are attainable.
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Agriculture, Forestry and Other Land Uses
Deforestation and ecological degradation continues to pose a risk to biodiversity across the globe, with indigenous populations particularly vulnerable to its harmful effects. Additionally, with more than half of the land in the United States currently being utilized for agricultural production adverse weather events connected to climate change such as wildfires have been steadily increasing in frequency and severity.
On November 14th, students were invited to join an interdisciplinary panel discussion to explore what it means for tech to be 'clean', why its needed, and the emergent business innovations that have arisen in response to exacerbating climate challenges.
November 30, 2023 05:03 PM

This Salon was Hosted in Collaboration with Venture Lab and the Mack Institute For Innovation Management