Negative Emissions: What Are They and Will They Be Enough?Recent climate modeling tells us that just eliminating fossil fuel emissions from the major sources will not be enough to meet our climate targets. We will have to actively clean up the atmosphere, both to make up for the emissions we can’t stop in time (fertilizer, airplanes, etc.) and to clean up the mess we are continuing to make. The scale is stunning – 10 billion tons a year by 2050. This amount is twice the weight of all the oil we extract in one year today. Can we develop an industry to remove carbon by 2050 that is twice the size of today’s oil industry? Roger will argue that we can.
Negative emissions technologies are being developed to address this need, and appear to be a major business opportunity. Major approaches include enhancing natural sinks like soil and forests; using biomass to accumulate carbon that is permanently stored; and building machines that remove CO2 by chemical means. In this talk, Roger will discuss the major ways we can remove CO2, and what we have learned about their costs and limitations.
Thresholds of Catastrophe in Earth's Carbon SystemAnalyzing our Geologic Past to Inform the Present
Mysterious and abrupt changes in the ocean's store of carbon have occurred intermittently throughout Earth's history. Each of these disruptions coincides with significant climate change. Mass extinctions are always accompanied by such events.
What causes these disruptions? Professor Rothman suggests that an influx of carbon dioxide that exceeds a critical rate instigates non-linear responses in Earth's carbon cycle. His analysis of the geologic record supports this hypothesis and he has created a model of an excitable carbon cycle that suggests how it works. Both show how to rescale the slow critical rates of the geologic past to inform our understanding of long-term risks posed by the fast pace of modern environmental change.
The Latest in Cell Therapy: Healing vs. HypeCell therapy, an idea that originated in the 19 th century, has nonetheless caught the world by a whirlwind of hope for treating cancers and fighting some of the toughest humankind diseases on Earth. Despite billions of dollars invested in its research, however, its translational outcomes have remained elusive. Only a handful of therapeutics have been approved by regulatory agencies, mostly in stem cell therapy. Large-scale manufacturing of cell therapy products proves to be challenging due to the intricacies of the manufacturing process. In addition, many unapproved products in the market remain in legal and moral quagmire.
The purpose of this panel is to bring to you a realistic check-in on the latest progress of cell therapy and assess its future directions. We are honored to have Eddie Eltoukhy (’13 PhD) from Senti Bio and Pear VC and Shannon Dahl (SB ’99), a veteran company builder in cell therapy who has been named the 2018 PharmaVOICE 100 list of the most transformational, influential, and inspirational leaders in the global healthcare and life sciences industry.
We are aiming for a 40-50min panel discussion, followed by a 10-20 min breakout room networking session.
Meditation for Mental Agility to Navigate Life’s TransitionsGiven the recent pandemic, the need for a reset, transition or optimization is vital for each of us. Whether you are dealing with professional transitions, personal challenges, or leadership goals, these meditation tools can facilitate the shift. This discussion will introduce a process of shifting the mind from rigid and repetitive to fluid and dynamic states.
FinTrack Professors’ Corner: ESG Data and RatingsMIT Sloan Professor Roberto Rigobon and Professor Robert G. Eccles from the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford (MIT SB!) talk about their work on ESG data and ratings on FRIDAY, July 16 at 11AM-Noon PDT.
Professor Rigobon and his team have been probing ESG ratings with their Aggregate Confusion research. His interests and methods have been informed by his work on development economics and monetary policy, often collaborating with governments in Latin America. Professor Eccles has long been studying the link between ESG performance and long-term financial performance. He has been a prominent and successful proponent of ESG integration into investment practices.
Come to hear them explain their different approaches to ESG data/ratings. Bring your burning ESG and sustainable investing questions. Yang Ruan, senior data engineer at Truvalue Labs, a FactSet Company and Jason Escamilla, founder of IMPACTADVISOR, will moderate and get as many answers as possible.
Promo photo attribution, Composite of:
Rigobon lecturing at TEDx Boca Raton
Eccles lecturing Robert G. Eccles. The CPA Journal
PCB probing with high-speed oscilloscope. PacketMicro, Inc.
MIT chalkboard Scott Teresi
Fireside Chat with Sandra Clarke - CFO of Blue Shield of CaliforniaOur Future of Healthcare Leadership Series features multi-dimensional leaders in the field of Healthcare. Our guest this month is Sandra Clarke, EVP and CFO at Blue Shield of California. Sandra brings over 25 years of experience directing worldwide financial organizations in an array of critical industries. She has a Master of Science in Healthcare Law from Seton Hall University School of Law, a Master of Science in Accounting from Bentley University, and a Bachelor of Science in Finance from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. She was named by San Francisco Business Times as one of “The Most Influential Women in Bay Area Business 2019."
In this intimate fireside chat hosted by Afsana Akhter, Digital Health Entrepreneur and Co-Chair of the MIT CNC Healthcare group, Sandra will share her journey in becoming a leader, her experiences in leading through change, her vision for transformation in Healthcare.
ESG Roundtable: Investing in SustainabilityDive into the latest academic research papers on ESG data and ratings with Florian Berg, postdoc at MIT Sloan, Costanza Consolandi, Associate Professor at the University of Siena in Italy, and Jim Hawley, Senior ESG Advisor, FactSet and Professor Emeritus at Saint Mary's College of California.
Florian works on the Aggregate Confusion Project with Professor Roberto Rigobon and was the lead author of Aggregate Confusion: The Divergence of ESG Ratings 2020. Costanza studies ESG materiality and is a frequent collaborator with Professor Robert G. Eccles. She was the lead author on How material is a material issue? Stock returns and the financial relevance and financial intensity of ESG materiality 2020. Jim has a new book out with Jon Lukomnik, Moving Beyond Modern Portfolio Theory, seeking to reconnect the capital markets with the environmental, social and financial systems they rely on.
On FRIDAY, June 18 at 11AM-Noon PDT, they will present their research, tease their up-and-coming research, and comment on developments in the ESG research landscape. Yang Ruan, senior data engineer at Truvalue Labs, a FactSet Company, and ESG research fan will moderate.
Come see how the ESG sausage gets deconstructed and scrutinized. Perhaps it will give you some ESG investing ideas, and also come up with good questions for the Professors’ Corner event on FRIDAY, July 16, with Professor Rigobon and Professor Eccles.
Project Drawdown: Climate Change Solutions TodayWe are in a pivotal and potentially transformative moment in human history. New US climate targets announced by the Biden-Harris administration. A huge percentage of American voters supportive of ambitious climate action. Bold climate ambition and plans from large corporations and investors globally. And a suite of climate solutions already in hand to address the climate crisis at the scope and scale required, led by the research of the nonprofit Project Drawdown.
We know what needs to be done and we have the solutions to do it. What we all do next to meet this moment, inside our companies, organizations, communities and spheres of influence is existential to our chances of limiting global warming to the level the science calls for.
In past discussions, many of you have asked “what can I do?” Many of the answers will be covered in this talk by Jamie Beck Alexander. We will take a tour of the suite of climate solutions researched by Project Drawdown, explore the biggest leverage points needed to scale these climate solutions in the world and we'll hear the latest updates on our global effort to achieve DRAWDOWN, quickly, safely and equitably.
Commercial Fusion: Unlimited Clean Energy?No fusion machine has ever generated more energy than it consumes, the requirement for a power plant. Tokamaks have come the closest, but historically they needed to be enormous in size to generate the magnetic fields needed to attempt net energy. New high temperature superconducting (HTS) magnets, developed in collaboration by MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center (PSFC) and startup Commonwealth Fusion Systems, will be a game changer for the prospects of commercial fusion power. These HTS magnets will produce stronger magnetic fields and as a result enable smaller, lower cost tokamaks that can achieve net energy from fusion for the first time in history - truly the holy grail of clean energy.
Under Bob Mumgaard’s leadership, Commonwealth Fusion Systems (CFS), will use this technology to build fusion energy systems. CFS was spun out of MIT's Plasma Science and Fusion Center in 2018 to leverage decades of fusion research combined with the innovation and speed of the private sector. Supported by the world’s leading investors in breakthrough energy technologies, the CFS team is uniquely positioned to deliver the fastest path to commercial fusion energy. CFS has assembled a world-class team that includes experts in magnets, manufacturing and plasma physics dedicated to the mission of delivering clean, limitless fusion power to the world.
Join us as Bob Mumgaard describes the progress CFS has made in financing, developing, and constructing the world's first net energy fusion machine called SPARC. He will also discuss the company’s plans for scaling production and commercialization of fusion machines to support decarbonization of base load electricity generation around the world. As part of our virtual Fireside Chat, Bob has promised to bring some videos of SPARC hardware and give us a virtual tour of the first SPARC construction site.
Lifelong Learning: The Future of 3D PrintingWant to learn about cutting edge research in the field of 3D printing? Have you been curious about the printing of proteins and organs, micro- and nano-manufacturing processes, rapid prototyping, and more? Come hear from 3 professors and MIT alums working on some mind-blowing innovation in our next event in the Lifelong Learning series with the MIT Club of Northern California:
Mark Skylar Scott, Assistant Professor of Bioengineering, Stanford
Hayden Taylor, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, U.C. Berkeley
Eric Lam, Adjunct Assistant Professor of Biochemistry and Biophysics, UCSF
Women's Career Series: Developing Executive PresenceTo help MIT women thrive in their careers, the women of the MIT Club of Northern California are excited to launch the Women’s Career Series. We're starting with a panel discussion on one of the most requested topics - Developing Executive Presence! Executive presence is frequently identified as a leadership trait that can make a key difference in progressing in one’s career. But what, exactly, is it—and how can you develop it? In this session, we’ll bring together a panel of accomplished MIT women to have an open, honest discussion on their own journeys to developing executive presence . They will share their personal experiences and challenges, strategies that worked for them, and resources that helped them along the way.
We hope you will join us to learn from each others’ experiences, forge new connections, and discuss the hard issues about developing and managing executive presence. Bring your questions for the Q&A session after the panel!
While this event will focus on executive presence for women, all are welcome to attend.
Lynn Jurich: Pioneer of Clean EnergyTrue pioneers are ahead of the pack – and benefit when the world comes around to their vision for the future. There is no better example in the clean tech space than Sunrun.
When Sunrun was founded 15 years ago by a few newly-minted MBAs, the rooftop solar industry was 1% of where it is today, only a few states were solar-friendly, solar panels were $3/watt, and home storage batteries were impractical. Fundamentally, the up-front costs of solar were out of reach to the vast majority of homeowners. Starting a solar business in this environment was nuts.
Sunrun’s journey from startup to successful public company was typical of pioneering survivors. Not only did the team develop a new residential solar business model and the infrastructure to help them scale, they also raised boatloads of cash to fund their rapidly growing solar installation business. Along the way they established close partnerships with solar equipment providers and installers, overcame resistance from skeptical utilities and policy makers, and took advantage of M&A opportunities for both revenue growth and technology.
Please join us to honor Lynn as our 2020-21 Pioneer of Clean Energy and to listen in on this fireside chat as she shares her team’s journey from crazy idea to viable business to successful public company. We’ll also get her thoughts on the future of solar and energy storage technology, the importance of public policy in the clean tech space, diversity in the workforce, and new opportunities in the rapidly changing electric utility business.
Fireside Chat with Gokul RajaramJoin us for a fireside chat with Gokul Rajaram!
Gokul has served on the executive team at DoorDash since November 2019, after Doordash acquired Square’s food delivery business, Caviar. Prior to DoorDash, he worked as the Product Engineering Lead from July 2013 to October 2019 at Square, where he led several product development teams and served on Square’s executive team.
Before Square, he served as Product Director of Ads at Facebook from August 2010 to July 2013, where he helped Facebook transition its advertising business to become mobile-first. Earlier in his career, Gokul served as a Product Management Director for Google AdSense, where he helped launch the product and grow it into a substantial portion of Google’s business. Gokul has served as a Director of Coinbase since August 2020, Pinterest (PINS) since February 2020, and The Trade Desk (TTD) since May 2018.
Could California Have a Texas-sized Power Outage?Last month a weather driven sequence of events left millions without power for multiple days in Texas, America’s energy heartland. The last two years have also exposed vulnerabilities in California’s power supply infrastructure, with both elective Public Safety Power Shutdowns and capacity-driven forced rolling blackouts. Is California on a path to have a Texas sized power disaster?
Though there are important differences, there are many similarities between Texas’ power infrastructure and California’s: from wholesale market design, to high amounts of renewable generation, to the fact that both markets have experienced generation capacity shortages recently. Furthermore, many of the trends that exist in both markets, coupled with trends in weather patterns, may exacerbate the capacity issues experienced recently. So far California has been spared from a Texas-sized failure, but industry experts disagree as to whether California is equally vulnerable or possibly headed in that direction.
Our discussion will illuminate the key factors that led to the Texas blackout and relate those factors to how California is currently situated and where the state is expected to be in the near future. We will also cover the various mechanisms that can be used to improve power infrastructure resiliency, e.g., revised incentives/regulations, energy storage, distributed generation, smarter grids, and demand-side management. Tune in to hear a broad range of viewpoints on these issues from our panel of experts, moderated by an experienced industry analyst.
The Peril and Promise of Solar GeoengineeringIt is becoming increasingly apparent that the goal of no more than a 2 degrees C. rise in global temperatures established by the Paris Agreement will not likely be met in a reasonable time frame. Post-pandemic global emissions are expected to continue to rise as more fossil fuel plants, including coal, are still being planned or placed into service for the foreseeable future, while countries that are reducing emissions are missing their goals. And while proposals for taking carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere are emerging, it will take decades for these to prove themselves and scale up to the levels required. Meanwhile, deforestation, severe droughts, raging fires and more powerful hurricanes appear to be happening faster than expected.
With this as a backdrop, Dr. Keith argues that solar geoengineering may be a viable option in that it could be implemented fairly easily and at low cost, estimated at $5B per year, yet offset the impact of many decades of carbon emissions. Research done to date by his team and international colleagues, suggests that the identified risks may prove manageable, but that much more research needs to be done to create a greater assurance that unintended consequences can be understood and controlled.
He will first review the science and technology of solar geoengineering, addressing its effectiveness in reducing climate risks. Then he will describe how solar geoengineering may create new non-climate risks and analyze their potential severity. Finally, he will discuss how a substantial research program could further reduce risk and uncertainty. He will then propose a case for integrating solar geoengineering into a climate policy that includes a full range of emissions cuts, major carbon removal approaches and adaptation. In his proposal, solar geoengineering is positioned as a long-time frame but temporary bridge to buy time to get to net zero emissions and fully implement carbon removal without blowing away the 2 degrees C. goal altogether.
Lifelong Learning: SETI Lightning TalksCome join us for lightning talks from the SETI Institute's CEO and 7 scientists working on research relevant to the search for, and understanding of, life beyond Earth.
Is there ice on mars? What can we learn from extreme environments on earth, about extraplanetary environments? How can Earth's policies get ready for potential alien contact? How do teachers and scientists do experiments in space? What will it mean for the galaxy when mining operations extend to Mars and beyond? And what role does machine learning play?