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The Future of Energy in a World of 400ppm and Rising

When you think of the future of energy, do you think of hillsides blanketed with wind turbines, cars powered by batteries instead of gas, and solar-powered office buildings?

If none of that sounds futuristic enough for you — where are the flying cars, bioengineered “living” cities fed by the sun and algae-powered lights? — that’s because it really isn’t.

The future of clean energy technology is already here, according to Dan Kammen, Jigar Shah and Joe Fargione — panelists at The Nature Conservancy’s “Future of Nature” forum on energy held Monday, May 13 in Boston. These experts — representing academia, business and conservation — agreed: The world has all the technology we need for a clean energy future. The challenge is implementing it at scales that can make a difference for controlling the global greenhouse gas emissions caused by energy production.

And we need this now more than ever. Last week, scientists measured 400ppm of CO2 in Earth’s air — a level that hasn’t existed in millions of years, before humans were around. With the global population expected to exceed 9 billion by 2050 and no uniformed effort to control emissions in sight, CO2 measures will likely surpass the 400ppm marker very soon.

Moderator Anthony Brooks of Boston radio station WBUR — a co-sponsor of the event — asked the panelists: Can renewable energies help make a dent in climate change while still meeting our energy needs? Here’s what they had to say.

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