David Wallace-Wells, deputy editor and climate columnist for New York magazine has a new book The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming. It talks about the severity of climate change. “Russia could play a bigger, more dynamic role of rival in the future. And the same is true of China.” Regarding green technology “We could save $26 trillion in the global economy just by 2030, which is a very fast return, if we decarbonize quickly.” Regarding sea levels “So, we could see at least a hundred feet of sea level rise, possibly as much as 260 feet of sea level rise, if we melt all of the ice.” Regarding heat waves “You see, you know, projections that many of the biggest cities in India and the Middle East will be lethally hot in summer as soon as 2050, which means you really won’t be able to go outside during the summer without incurring some risk of heat stroke.”
Increasingly there are youth movements calling for action like the Green New Deal in America or the Extinction Rebellion in Europe. On February 21, 2019, sixteen year-old Greta Thunberg of Sweden addressed the European Union: “We need to focus every inch of our being on climate change, because if we fail to do so, then all our achievements and progress have been for nothing. And all that will remain of our political leaders’ legacy will be the greatest failure of human history. And they will be remembered as the greatest villains of all time, because they have chosen not to listen and not to act. … And if you still say that we are wasting valuable lesson time, then let me remind you that our political leaders have wasted decades through denial and inaction. And since our time is running out, we have decided to take action. We have started to clean up your mess, and we will not stop until we are done.”
On Friday, July 27, 2012 in San Francisco at Mark Hopkins Intercontinental Hotel, the Commonwealth Club and the Marines Memorial Association hosted General Martin E. Dempsey, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He spoke on “Current International Security Challenges and the Future of the U.S.” with George Scalise, President of Semiconductor Industry Association. Dempsey was wrapping up a tour in Silicon Valley after meeting the staff of Facebook and other high tech companies. He thinks they should be thinking about the future at least as much as the military does.
Earlier this week, Dempsey oversaw the changeover in command at the Defense Intelligence Agency from Burgess to Flynn. It is part of a larger process of better cooperation between the military and civilians to speed up the gathering and acting upon timely intelligence using emerging technology.
He also spoke about the military shift from the Middle East to the Asia Pacific region. While some see this as a way to contain China’s growing influence, he thinks it would be unusual if the United States did not have any presence in the region. The challenge will be to do this with smaller budgets and fewer personnel. America has over 300 million people but fewer than three million active and reserve duty personnel. The all volunteer military is more diverse and far different than the days of the draft. Professional soldiers have more training to operate complex equipment in chaotic situations. Even if there were a draft, only one in four young people can meet the all the physical and academic requirements to serve. A military is only as strong as the citizens it defends.
At a press conference afterwards, Mark Matthews of ABC KGO-TV asked about the recent trouble at Lackland Air Force Base. I recommend checking Matthews report on this. Jeff King of CNN was there as well. At a later funny moment, Dempsey wryly commented on my camera as being very “stealthy.” If it really were, he would not have noticed it. I hope he enjoys the pictures.
On June 29, 2010 in Palo Alto at SAP, SDForum presented a Clean Tech Breakfast titled “Next Generation Batteries: Challenges and Opportunities in Energy Storage.” Jeffrey Selman of Nixon Peabody moderated panelists Dania Ghantous of Qnovo, Ashok Lahiri of Enovix, Mark Platshon of VantagePoint and Camille Ricketts of VentureBeat.
To give you an idea how much things are changing, Tesla has gone public on the NASDAQ. Storing alternative energy andÂ the growth of mobile technology is driving the need for more efficient and environmentally sustainable batteries. The demand of batteries for cell phones, laptops and cameras will only skyrocket when we need thousands of batteries for electric cars. We need more students majoring in math, science and particularly chemistry. Buy your child a chemistry set and walk them through a periodic table. In the mean time there will be a scramble for the raw materials for lithium ion batteries and in countries like Afghanistan and Bolivia just as there is for oil in the Middle East. There is strong interest in the outcome of battery technology. In the audience I saw people from Lawrence Livermore, Sony, Wells Fargo and one mysterious gentleman in the corner who did not want to be identified.
I mention him because over the weekend I saw a movie starring Tom Cruise called Knight and Day. A crazy secret agent finds and protects a genius who develops a super battery. I never thought batteries would be a major plot point in a Hollywood movie, but I think it will be key to our economy in the future.