NEW YORK--The solution to climate change boils down to industrial design, contends entrepreneur and inventor Saul Griffith.
Griffith gave the keynote speech at the Greener Gadgets conference here on Friday where he ran through a flurry of numbers on energy and climate change to argue that the consumer electronics and IT industry needs to make drastic changes to curb its significant contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.
The recipient of a MacArthur Foundation "genius grant" and several patents, Griffith's "day job" is president and chief scientist of Makani Power, a company backed by Google.org to generate electricity from kites flying at high altitudes. He also co-founded other ventures, including Optiopia, Squid Labs, Potenco, Instructables.com, and HowToons.
Scientists are increasingly able to measure the carbon contribution of different activities and products. Having run the numbers on how much renewable energy can contribute to reducing carbon emissions, Griffith has concluded that the scale of industrial transformation is enormous.
"This is a lot like retooling for World War II when the U.S. made 300,000 aircraft from 1939 to 1945," he said, adding that refrigerator and auto factories were converted during the war effort. "The reality is that we can do it. We made 10 terawatts of power generation over the last 40 years. We need to do it again, a little quicker, but we have to do it radically different--not with pipelines and fossil fuels this time." … Read more