A Global Strategy to Advance Democracy in Hard TimesFor the past decade and a half, the world has been mired in a democratic recession, with more and more democracies decaying and breaking down. The problem has been made much worse by the growing polarization and dysfunction of American democracy. Many people say that the U.S. must fix its own problems first before it can promote democracy abroad. But people struggling to win or defend their freedom can’t afford to wait until the U.S. heals itself politically.
Republicans and Democrats agree on the need to counter China’s malign, corrupting, and coercive influence activities around the world (and they mainly agree on the need to counter Russia’s malign behavior, too.) There is also broad agreement on the value of supporting democratic media, parties, and civil society around the world. What is needed is a bold and integrated strategy to turn back the authoritarian tide, and that strategy must be built around a core strategic insight: The combined military and geopolitical power and resolve of the U.S. and its democratic allies have been and will remain critical to the fate of freedom in the world. This talk lays out a grand strategy for advancing global democracy.
Climate Change: Opportunities & RisksClimate change discussions are often full of complexity and uncertainty. Taking a different approach, Dr. Emanuel will focus his presentation on the opportunities that our adaptation to climate change creates. Dr. Emanuel will begin his presentation with a broad overview of climate science, including the history of the science itself, and what we have learned about the natural variation in Earth’s climate system through analysis of paleoclimate data, the instrumental record and, most importantly, the fundamental physics, chemistry, and biology underlying it.
He will discuss projections of future climates, made using both simple and complex models, with an emphasis on sources of uncertainty together with an assessment of whether and to what extent the level of uncertainty can be reduced.
Toward the end of the talk, he will frame the problem of global warming as a problem of risk assessment and resiliency management, including the difficulties in dealing with low probability but very high impact events, and will describe various technical and policy options for dealing with climate change. These include important and exciting opportunities in carbon-free energy sources and addressing issues of anti-resiliency that influence rapid and effective mitigation efforts.
The Future of Nuclear Energy: Have we entered a new era?Are Climate Change, War in Ukraine, Inflation, and Fossil Fuel Supply Shortages Driving a Resurgence in Nuclear Energy?
With the Russian cutoff of natural gas to Europe and the trends toward de-globalization and supply chain security, the issue of energy security has risen to the top of national agendas throughout the world. California’s legislature and governor have approved a 5 year extension of the state’s last nuclear plant, Diablo Canyon, which generates 8% of the state’s energy. Japan’s prime minister has called for re-starting its nuclear plants and for a broader policy shift toward nuclear. Germany is postponing the closure of two of its remaining nuclear plants, suggesting perhaps a second Energiewende (completing a U-turn?). France is considering up to 14 new reactors. China has 21 nuclear plants under construction. In the US, the Inflation Reduction Act provides subsidies for existing and advanced nuclear reactors. Many other countries are planning new reactors, too. These moves indicate a growing consensus that the world economy needs every megawatt of nuclear energy available.
Nearly every model of global energy demand points to the important role nuclear power must play to reduce carbon emissions. By how much can nuclear power reduce the world’s carbon emissions? Or, can renewables do it all?
“It is not a choice between the two. #solar will grow as fast as it physically can and won’t be 100%. Same with #wind, #geothermal, #hydro, #BiomassCCS, #efficiency, etc. You still have a huge political/resiliency hole that #nuclear has to fill. Every model shows it. #cleanfirm” — Jigar Shah (@JigarShahDC) August 27, 2022
The International Energy Agency projects that a doubling of the world’s nuclear output is required by 2050 to reach net zero energy.
The nuclear industry has a history of missing schedule and budget. Advocates of small modular reactors say they will be easier to build than larger ones. In the US, TerraPower and X-Energy have been chosen by the DOE to build small reactors based on new technology. China and Russia are building smaller reactors. More than $1.2 B of venture funding has gone into new fission technology in the past year. Is smaller, cheaper, faster the answer?
MIT Professor Jacopo Buongiorno, a world-wide leader in the nuclear industry, will discuss the latest developments in new technology, the changes in the market, needed policy support, opportunities for public education, new workforce requirements, career opportunities and other key issues.
Repurpose Diablo Canyon for Economical Water & Energy?Can California Repurpose Diablo Canyon
to provide both Giga-scale Drinking Water and Clean Energy?
California is in the midst of the second multiyear drought in 8 years, with drinking water conservation calls ranging from 10% to 32% across the state. California’s water supply depends on winter precipitation that is the most variable in the nation. Further, the State’s continuing investment in water supply, storage and conveyance comes at significant cost to the ecosystem, with frequent tradeoffs and delays to address environmental concerns.
Thus, there is great interest in wholly new water sources such as recycled water and desalination; however, these are typically expensive as well as capital & energy intensive. What if California could build a billion gallon per day desalination plant?
MIT faculty members John Lienhard, Jacopo Buongiorno, and John Parsons, working with the Stanford Precourt Energy Institute, have developed an innovative proposal to generate significant quantities of desalinated water as well as zero carbon electricity and green transportation fuel. By repurposing the existing Diablo Canyon Nuclear facility, they found that the nuclear plant plus a new giga-scale desalination plant could simultaneously help to stabilize the State’s electric grid with carbon-free electricity and provide desalinated water to supplement the State’s chronic water shortages at a scale potentially comparable to the largest reservoir projects.
The proposal consists of three parts:
- Build a large scale modular desalinated water facility, using existing RO technology, adjacent to Diablo Canyon that shares its large-scale water facilities and capitalizes on low-cost electricity from the nuclear plant,
- Continue to use Diablo Canyon to provide dispatchable carbon-free power to the grid to complement the State’s large renewable electric supply, while simultaneously addressing environmental concerns regarding seawater intake and heat discharge,
- Build a hydrogen fuel manufacturing facility adjacent to Diablo Canyon to generate green hydrogen fuel to further decarbonize the transportation industry in the State.
The professors will discuss the technical and economic feasibility of this design, how it can reduce carbon emissions vs. the current trajectory for how we balance renewable energy, and how it can provide new, economical drought-proof water to the State on a scale not considered possible heretofore.
MITea: Japanese Tea IAP Masterclass with Kettl“Kettl tea is the most flavorful and fragrant tea I have ever experienced. It has become a central part of my restaurants and my daily life.”
– James Beard Award Winning Chef David Bouley, New York
“There may be no more high-profile emerging tea brand in America right now than Kettl.”
Learn about Japan’s finest tea from Zach Mangan, owner of New York’s Kettl, a direct-source operation with offices in Fukuoka, Japan and Brooklyn, NY. Kettl is focused on the highest quality Japanese tea and offers an array of truly stunning gyokuro, sencha, matcha, and hōjicha teas imported from several of the country’s most notable producers, which are located in rural, isolated areas. Small volume and high demand make procuring these teas difficult.
Kettl's flagship cafe and gallery space is located in Greenpoint, Brooklyn and features tea to go, a tasting counter, their full collection of ceramics, retail teas, Japanese incense and select home goods. Kettl Bowery in Manhattan serves tea and sweets at a four-seat counter and a take-away window. Retail teas are also available for purchase along with a limited selection of ceramics. Tea, tea pots and cups, incense and many other items are available from the Kettl web site.
Kettl also supplies tea to some of the country’s top restaurants and cafes including, Ichimura at Uchu, Jean-Georges, Momofuku Ko and Per Se in New York, along with The French Laundry in the Napa Valley. Kettl’s restaurant clients hold a combined 36 Michelin stars!
In this guided virtual tasting, participants will take a deep dive into the world of Japanese tea. We will cover the history of tea in Japan and explore how it influenced the development the arts, cuisine and politics of the nation. We will then look at the tea industry today and explore several areas of manufacture, styles of tea and taste how processing and place impact flavor. The tasting will be followed by a Q&A session, moderated by Patricia Liu of the Club of Northern California.
COP26 Explained: High Hopes, Hard Truths & Future PathwaysSince the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) came into force in 1994, parties to the UNFCCC have met annually in a Conference of Parties (COP) beginning with the Berlin Mandate (1995) to further negotiate a legal protocol, which resulted in the Kyoto Protocol at COP3 (1997). Fast forward to 2009, nations had high expectations when over 180 heads of governments and heads of states met at Copenhagen for COP15. High expectations resulted in failure to achieve a new legal instrument. Through much hard talk and tough negotiations through the intervening annual COPs, it was not until COP21 that nations again completed a new legal instrument – the Paris Agreement of 2015.
Each year since 2015, nations have been negotiating the implementation details of the Paris Agreement, including the role of each nation’s nationally determined contributions and whether such voluntary contributions are conditioned on climate finance and technology assistance from wealthier nations and the provisions of cooperative approaches between nations in Article 6 of the Paris Agreement.
In this fireside chat, we will be joined by two climate change experts and veteran observers of the climate policy landscape who will give us their perspectives of what has been accomplished at COP26 in Glasgow and what these global policy develop-ments mean towards advances in climate actions.
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