Balancing the Energy & Climate Budget: Personally, Nationally, Globally

Tuesday, July 13, 2010, 12:00 noon - 1:00 PM
Building 50 Auditorium
Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory

YouTube Video| Presentation (PDF, 7.3 MB), Graphs (PDF, 1.0 MB)

The average American uses 11400 Watts of power continuously. This is the equivalent of burning 114 x100 Watt light bulbs, all the time. The average person globally uses 2255 Watts of power, or a little less than 23 x100 Watt light bulbs.

What are the consequences of us all using this much power?

What is the implied challenge of global warming in terms of how we produce power?

What are the things we do as individuals in terms of using power that we might change? What is the scale of the engineering task to build the infrastructure required to hit our climate goals?

By detailed self examination this talk gives us a realistic, data-driven to do list on how we might change our behaviors as individuals as well as our collective behavior as societies and global citizens, if we are to meet the great challenge of the 21st century—how to live in a world where we increasingly understand the resources to be finite, and the consequences of our actions complex and inter-twined.

What temperature do we set climate change at? What CO2 concentration does this imply we need to aim at? How much power can we get from fossil fuels while still meeting this goal? How much power do we need to install and produce from non-carbon technologies? What does this mean for countries, corporations, and individuals?

Saul Griffith

Saul Griffith

Inventor, SQUID Labs
President and Chief Scientist, Makani Power

Saul Griffith has degrees in materials science and mechanical engineering, and completed his PhD in Programmable Assembly and Self Replicating machines at MIT. He is the co-founder of numerous companies including: Low Cost Eyeglasses, Squid Labs, Potenco,, HowToons and Makani Power. He has received numerous awards for inventions including being named a MacArthur fellow in 2007, the Collegiate Inventor's award of the National Inventors Hall of Fame, and the Lemelson-MIT Student prize, and holds numerous patents and patents pending in textiles, optics, nanotechnology, and energy production. He co-authors children's comic books called "HowToons" about building your own science and engineering gadgets with Nick Dragotta and Joost Bonsen. He is a technical advisor to Make magazine and Popular Mechanics, and a columnist and contributor to Make and Craft magazines.