Monday, November 1, 2010

Answering the World’s Toughest Energy Questions

Any list of the biggest challenges humanity faces would place energy near the top. Meeting the challenge will require immense creativity, determination, and the help of some of the greatest minds in the world. In order to power the future, we’ll need to create cleaner, cheaper, more dependable sources of energy. For this reason, Saatchi & Saatchi Russia has been working with an inspirational cause called the Global Energy Prize.

Introduced in 2002, the Global Energy Prize has been awarded to 22 scientists from countries around the globe. Aimed at spurring groundbreaking research in energy, they award three prizes each year (adding up to almost $1M) for breakthroughs, discoveries and the large-scale achievements in energy science. Candidates are nominated by the greatest thinkers in the field, including Nobel Laureates for physics and chemistry, past recipients of the Global Energy Prize, and winners of the Kyoto, Max Planck, and Wolf prizes.

This year’s awards will be given in St. Petersburg in June 2011. As a lead-in to the festivities, the organizers have partnered with The Guardian to collect what readers think are the “world’s toughest questions” in energy. If you’ve got one, stop by The Guardian’s Environment page and submit it. On 3 November, a team of past Global Energy Prize winners and members of the selection committee will tackle your questions and, in the process, jump-start the conversation about this important issue.

Already, the responses have been flooding in. The Guardian has collected over 500 questions from people who are concerned about our energy future and are eager to hear what these experts have to say. Here’s a sampling of questions that have come in over the last few days:

1. To what extent is nuclear a safe form of energy (including its production and mining)?

2. How viable is wind power as a clean, alternative energy source?

3. How long does it take to recoup the energy used in the construction of the various non-fossil fuel energy generating systems, including nuclear?

4. What is the single worst consequence of continuing our use of fossil fuels?

5. What is the most dangerous problem that awaits humanity in the next five years?

6. What are the most effective methods of reducing energy consumption?

7. How much of the big "global energy change" is going to rely on new, emerging technologies compared to individual contribution and governmental policies?

8. How far are we on the way to fusion power?

9. When will solar panels be made more efficient so that they can turn more of the sun's energy into electricity?

10. Can the world meet its current and future energy needs without fossil fuels using existing technology?

We need innovative energy, and with the help of some of the greatest minds in energy science, the Global Energy Prize is blazing the way.