28 March 2019

As extreme weather, rising seas, and severe droughts bring home the reality of global climate change, we are increasingly aware of the world’s pressing need for carbon-free energy sources and reliable, affordable energy storage systems.

Already, we’re seeing the forefront of a new energy economy, with Denmark generating almost half of its power through wind energy and California moving toward its goal of operating on 100 percent clean energy by 2045. We also are gaining a deeper, more-nuanced understanding of the highly specific local impacts of pollution from shortened life expectancy to coral reef bleaching. But we still face daunting obstacles in our search for new materials and technologies that will allow us to generate and store the energy we need—while we attempt to repair the environmental damage we have inflicted on our planet.

To address this crisis, our scientists’ work must inform pragmatic, effective policies that will create effective incentives for utilities and consumers to shift away from dependence on fossil fuels and embrace a new energy future. These are enormous challenges that will require us to work together on an international scale and quickly pursue effective scientific energy solutions that will address the global climate crisis—while we still can.

Dr. Eric Isaacs: President, Carnegie Institution for Science


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