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Monday, December 12, 2016

Breakthrough Launches "The Future of Fooed" Six part series on food, agriculture, and sustainability

Breakthrough Launches "The Future of Food"

Six-part series on food, agriculture, and sustainability

An Introduction: The Future of Food

by Ted Nordhaus

Last week, Breakthrough launched a six-part series on the future of food in hopes of empirically regrounding the conversation about food, agriculture, and sustainability. Reviewing the best science available, we’ll consider the consequences and trade-offs associated with different food systems and the possibilities that continuing social and technological innovation could open up for a food system that might sit more lightly on the land.

Is Precision Agriculture the Way to Peak Cropland? 

by Linus Blomqvist and David Douglas

The first essay in that series, by Breakthrough Institute’s Director of Conservation Linus Blomqvist and Applied Invention’s David Douglas, considers the possibilities for precision agriculture. Much of the conversation around improving agricultural yields, they write, has focused too much on biotechnology, which is important but insufficient, and “Green Revolution”-style application of fertilizers and irrigation, which have largely run their course in the developed world.

Video: Precision Agriculture 

Visualizing Agricultural Innovation

Given how much land humans use to grow food today, and how much progress we're making towards growing it more efficiently, is peak farmland in sight? Watch the video, and read Blomqvist's and Douglas's essay for more information.
Next week, we will post the next installment in our Future of Food series:

 “The Future of Meat”

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Earth Isn't Doomed Yet

The New York Times covers Breakthrough report

The New York Times’ Eduardo Porter details the findings of Breakthrough’s recent climate policy report, which suggests that explicit emissions targets and treaties have “little or no discernible impact upon emissions.” Domestic policies targeted at energy and innovation, rather, have driven real progress in emissions reductions, Porter shares. 

Featured: "Energy for Human Development" 

Breakthrough Report Stirs Up Energy Poverty Conversation

Since its release in November, Breakthrough's latest report has been stirring up the energy poverty debate. Ronald Bailey at Reason contrasts Breakthrough's call to prioritize energy development for productive, large-scale economic enterprises with approaches based around small-scale energy projects aimed chiefly at supplying tiny amounts of electricity to millions of subsistence farmers.

Last week, Greentech Media also featured Breakthrough's work, noting that recent initiatives to address energy poverty ignore what has worked in the past, and instead rely on technology fixes made possible by the dramatic price reductions in solar, microgrids and batteries.

The Role of Baseload Low-Carbon Electricity in Decarbonization

By Breakthrough Energy Analyst Michael Goff

In his latest blog post, Breakthrough Energy Analyst Michael Goff evaluates both the cost and carbon intensity of electrical grids in 18 of the world’s leading economies and finds that nuclear and hydroelectric power remain the cheapest way to deeply decarbonize modern electrical grids.

The United States Is Not an Apocalyptic Wasteland

Steven Pinker Advocates for Ecomodernism

Trump has repeatedly painted an apocalyptic picture of contemporary America, but Harvard psychologist Steven Pinker feels pragmatically optimistic. In his Motherboard interview, Pinker discusses reality and hope in the face of a Trump presidency and argues that ecomodernism is the best solution to mitigating climate change. 

Climate change can be mitigated by an aggressive combination of policy and technology, following the lead of the ecomodernist movement. Success is by no means guaranteed, but we must not sit back and sulk, resigned to the corrosive belief that humanity is doomed.

Breakthrough Summer Fellowship Opportunities

Applications Open for Breakthrough Generation and Breakthrough Research Fellowships 

Applications are open for the Breakthrough Institute Generation and Research Fellowships! Apply now or share the opportunity with those you think might be a good fit for this summer's programs. 
Breakthrough Generation Fellowships foster the development of a new generation of thinkers and writers capable of finding pragmatic new solutions to today’s greatest challenges in the areas of energy, conservation, innovation, and human development.
Breakthrough Research Fellowships offer more advanced scholars the opportunity to pursue non-resident research collaborations that seek to change the way society approaches major environmental and development challenges.

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