5 Takeaways From The Times’s ClimateTECH Conference

New York Times
By LISA FRIEDMAN
December 1, 2017

SAN FRANCISCO — Tech­nol­ogy and busi­ness lead­ers gath­ered here on Thurs­day to dis­cuss solu­tions to ris­ing global tem­per­a­tures at Cli­mateTECH, a con­fer­ence hosted by The New York Times.

The con­ver­sa­tion ranged from detailed plans to cut green­house gas emis­sions and pro­mote renew­able energy, like improv­ing energy stor­age, to trans­for­ma­tive ideas like pro­duc­ing meat with­out rais­ing ani­mals and engi­neer­ing a solu­tion to the air-​​conditioning crisis.

Here are some of the major themes from the conference:

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Agri­cul­ture is ripe for innovation

The future of agri­cul­ture might be tak­ing shape in Sil­i­con Valley.

Agri­cul­ture, forestry and changes in land use together pro­duce about 21 per­cent of global emis­sions, accord­ing to the United Nations Food and Agri­cul­ture Orga­ni­za­tion. With the global pop­u­la­tion expected to approach 10 bil­lion by 2050, agri­cul­ture is a crit­i­cal part of the cli­mate puzzle.

One pro­posal came from Uma Valeti, a co-​​founder of Mem­phis Meats in San Lean­dro, Calif., which is rac­ing to develop “clean” meats for humans that are grown from ani­mal cells in a lab. The com­pany hopes to to start sell­ing its prod­uct by 2021.

The Farm­ers Busi­ness Net­work, based in San Car­los, Calif., is help­ing farm­ers aggre­gate data for more effi­cient agri­cul­ture. Nancy E. Pfund, whose ven­ture cap­i­tal firm DBL Part­ners is help­ing to finance the group, said the fund was help­ing farm­ers under­stand when they use too much water, elec­tric­ity or seeds, “not because they’re doing it wrong, but because they haven’t had that data to under­stand how to optimize.”

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