playlist

The end of oil?

It's the question of our generation: Can we find a sustainable alternative to oil? Scientists, inventors and activists present stern warnings and visionary solutions for the energy of tomorrow.

  1. 3:32
    Taylor Wilson Yup, I built a nuclear fusion reactor

    Taylor Wilson believes nuclear fusion is a solution to our future energy needs, and that kids can change the world. And he knows something about both of those: When he was 14, he built a working fusion reactor in his parents' garage. Now 17, he takes the TED stage at short notice to tell (the short version of) his story.

  2. 15:15
    Donald Sadoway The missing link to renewable energy

    What's the key to using alternative energy, like solar and wind? Storage — so we can have power on tap even when the sun's not out and the wind's not blowing. In this accessible, inspiring talk, Donald Sadoway takes to the blackboard to show us the future of large-scale batteries that store renewable energy. As he says: "We need to think about the problem differently. We need to think big. We need to think cheap."

  3. 17:14
    Lisa Margonelli The political chemistry of oil

    Speaking one month after the massive Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Lisa Margonelli shows how drilling moratoriums and executive ousters make for good theater, but distract us from the issue at heart: our unrestrained oil consumption. She shares her bold plan to wean America off oil — by confronting consumers with its real cost.

  4. 18:06
    Shai Agassi A new ecosystem for electric cars

    Forget about the hybrid auto — Shai Agassi says it's electric cars or bust if we want to impact emissions. His company, Better Place, has a radical plan to take entire countries oil-free by 2020.

  5. 12:45
    Justin Hall-Tipping Freeing energy from the grid

    What would happen if we could generate power from our windowpanes? In this moving talk, entrepreneur Justin Hall-Tipping shows the materials that could make that possible, and how questioning our notion of 'normal' can lead to extraordinary breakthroughs.

  6. 27:10
    Amory Lovins A 40-year plan for energy

    In this intimate talk filmed at TED's offices, energy innovator Amory Lovins shows how to get the US off oil and coal by 2050, $5 trillion cheaper, with no Act of Congress, led by business for profit. The key is integrating all four energy-using sectors—and four kinds of innovation.

  7. 27:49
    Bill Gates Innovating to zero!

    At TED2010, Bill Gates unveils his vision for the world's energy future, describing the need for "miracles" to avoid planetary catastrophe and explaining why he's backing a dramatically different type of nuclear reactor. The necessary goal? Zero carbon emissions globally by 2050.

  8. 9:54
    Steven Cowley Fusion is energy's future

    Physicist Steven Cowley is certain that nuclear fusion is the only truly sustainable solution to the fuel crisis. He explains why fusion will work — and details the projects that he and many others have devoted their lives to, working against the clock to create a new source of energy.

  9. 5:25
    Saul Griffith High-altitude wind energy from kites!

    In this brief talk, Saul Griffith unveils the invention his new company Makani Power has been working on: giant kite turbines that create surprising amounts of clean, renewable energy.

  10. 16:42
    Stewart Brand 4 environmental 'heresies'

    The man who helped usher in the environmental movement in the 1960s and '70s has been rethinking his positions on cities, nuclear power, genetic modification and geo-engineering. This talk at the US State Department is a foretaste of his major new book, sure to provoke widespread debate.

  11. 19:49
    Naomi Klein Addicted to risk

    Days before this talk, journalist Naomi Klein was on a boat in the Gulf of Mexico, looking at the catastrophic results of BP's risky pursuit of oil. Our societies have become addicted to extreme risk in finding new energy, new financial instruments and more ... and too often, we're left to clean up a mess afterward. Klein's question: What's the backup plan?

  12. 12:41
    Jennifer Granholm A clean energy proposal — race to the top!

    Kicking off the TED2013 conference, Jennifer Granholm asks a very American question with worldwide implications: How do we make more jobs? Her big idea: Invest in new alternative energy sources. And her big challenge: Can it be done with or without our broken Congress?

  13. 16:40
    Rob Hopkins Transition to a world without oil

    Rob Hopkins reminds us that the oil our world depends on is steadily running out. He proposes a unique solution to this problem — the Transition response, where we prepare ourselves for life without oil and sacrifice our luxuries to build systems and communities that are completely independent of fossil fuels.