Live blog of the second day of ClimateTech, MIT Technology Review’s first ever conference dedicated to finding solutions for climate change.

1.44 Hello, we’re back with the third session of today’s ClimateTech talks—I’m Tammy, a reporting fellow at MIT Technology Review, and I’ll be filling you in on this segment, which focuses on climate-minded transportation innovations.

12.30 Okay, it’s time for lunch! I’m now going to hand over to my colleagues Tammy and Hana, who will talk you through the rest of the sessions when we resume afterwards. Thank you for reading, I hope you enjoy the rest of the conference!

12.20 We’re now hearing from Kent Larson, an architect, entrepreneur, and academic. He is Director of City Science at MIT Media Lab. His research focuses on compact transformable housing, ultralight autonomous mobility systems, sensing and algorithms to recognize and respond to complex human behavior, and advanced modeling, simulation, and tangible interfaces for urban design.

AI modeling tools are particularly useful because they allow diverse groups of stakeholders to come and meet and explore scenarios, he says, pointing out that open mic-style meetings are often dominated by the loudest, angriest voices.

“I think this process could be used for controversial topics in our cities, related to zoning or affordable housing, parking, issues like that,” he adds.

12.05 Next up, we have Jacopo Buongiorno, the TEPCO Professor of Nuclear Science and Engineering at MIT. He teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate courses in thermo-fluids engineering and nuclear reactor engineering.

“We’re going to need a lot of clean energy to reduce the emissions, this is kind of obvious,” he says. “We’ll also need a lot of energy to actually power our adaptation solutions…and to defend geopolitical instability and competition for resources.”

One possible solution could come in the form of a nuclear battery, a nuclear micro reactor that uses air from the atmosphere for cooling, rather than a water source. One major advantage is that it’s transportable in standard containers, and can operate for five to 10 years and provide that energy on demand.

12.00 Andreas Rico, a graduate student from Mexico City at the MIT Media Lab with a background in Robotics, AI, and Innovation, is now talking about communities without infrastructure.

“The richest 10% [of the world] is accountable for 50% of the global CO2 emissions. And sadly, on top of this, the impacts of climate change are not equal either,” he says. “Typically, the regions that tend to be the most vulnerable are not the ones that are producing the most CO2.”

Securing energy, food and waste resources for vulnerable communities is crucial, he says, particularly ones that are low cost, lightweight, and easily distributed.

11.58 So, how do we encourage people to shift towards a plant-based diet, she asks? The solution should, and can, involve delicious plant based alternatives and fresh local food, but that won’t necessarily be enough. Policy and strategic nudges may be required, but they’re often both unpopular and controversial. Read more about how reducing your meat consumption really can help the climate.

Shifting towards a plant-based diet is crucial for environmental sustainability, but can also improve animal welfare, public health, food security and create new local economic opportunities. Plus, it’s a change that individuals can make on their own, she adds.

11.50 Now, Alex Berke, a PhD student in the MIT Media Lab’s City Science group, is talking about low-carbon diets.

Animal products contribute the majority of food related emissions, and are much more resource intensive than plant based foods, she says. Producing animal products contributes more than 56% of food related emissions, and takes up more than 75% of global farmlands, yet only contributes about 37% of the protein and 18% of calories to the global food supply.

The world is producing more animal products that people need, she adds, which is particularly problematic in the US and other affluent countries where meat is consumption is the highest.

11.40 Now Maitane Iruretagoyena, a technical associate at the City Science Group, has taken to the stage.

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