The world seems destined to continue down the road of reliance on fossil reserves, encouraged to do so by cheap methane from fracking and new oil discoveries. However we know that this can only lead to planetary disaster.
Nor is the road supposedly leading to a greener world really an alternative. Organic farming and natural materials cannot feed, clothe and house the 9 billion humans that there will be by 2050. Famine and scarcity is where that ends up.
However, there is a third way and this could provide all the things needed for a modern lifestyle: secure food supply, clean water, transport fuel, healing drugs, polymers, and a comfortable home.
Only chemistry offers a way of providing these in a sustainable way, based entirely on renewable resources for the chemical, agrochemical, and pharmaceutical industries. Creating such a world will require dedicated young chemists to make it possible.
Dr John Emsley will present “2050: Sustainable UK?” on Thursday 15 May 2014, 19:00-20:00 at the Pfizer Lecture Theatre, Department of Chemistry, Lensfield Road, Cambridge.
The talk is part of the SCI Cambridge Science Talks series and is free and open to all. Suitable for school parties – no tickets, so arrive early to get a good seat.