There is a consensus that we humans will need to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases substantially in this century if we are to avoid unacceptable modifications to climate and the biogeochemistry of the ocean. Hence the important question is: how are we to do that? The challenge, to change the world's energy systems, is a huge one, and there is no single, simple solution to it. We need to improve energy efficiency dramatically, move increasingly to use of energy resources that have low or zero net emissions of greenhouse gases (solar energy, some biofuels, wind, nuclear power, geothermal power, ...) or to the extent that carbon stays in the fuel mix, capture and store an increasing fraction of the CO2 that results. In addition, we will need research to create new energy conversion options for the future. This talk reviews possible pathways for substantial reductions in greenhouse gas emissions.
Lynn Orr is the Keleen and Carlton Beal Professor in the Department of Energy Resources Engineering and Director of the Global Climate and Energy Project at Stanford University. He served as Dean of the School of Earth Sciences at Stanford from 1994 to 2002. He joined Stanford in 1985. Previously, he was employed by the US Environmental Protection Agency in Washington, DC, Shell Development Company in Houston, and the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota and a B.S. from Stanford University, both in Chemical Engineering. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and the Boards of Directors of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.