Meet the judges behind Hack the Climate for a sustainable world! The organizing team has pulled together an incredible lineup of experienced professionals to support the hackathon, March 22-26, 2021. Get to know them by reading their profiles and responses to two key questions we all may want to ask ourselves:
Jamie Alexander is the founding director of Project Drawdown’s Drawdown Labs – a consortium of private sector partners working to go beyond ‘net zero’ to scale climate solutions in the world, within and outside their own operations. Jamie joined the Project Drawdown team from Ceres, where she led corporate engagement, working with companies to set ambitious emission reduction targets, and leveraging their influence in support of strong climate and clean energy policies.
Jamie responded to our two questions about her motivations.
Technology is essential in helping to improve and scale the climate solutions that we already have in hand. Technology can help address food waste by tracking excess food and redistributing surplus. It can help reduce building heating and cooling costs through automation. And mapping, satellites, and open source data can help monitor and address deforestation. And many, many more. We already have most of the technologies and practices we need to address climate change, but with improved technologies they can be scaled much faster and more effectively.
I hope to see solutions in the food, agriculture, and land use sector since it's the sector of solutions that can have the biggest impact on reducing heat-trapping gases in the atmosphere. But we need them all!
Hampus Jakobsson is a climate venture capitalist. Prior to being an investor, he built and scaled software startups. He started out as a computer scientist and is an avid reader and blogger.
Hampus will bring his years of experience as a climate researcher to his role as a judge for Hack the Climate. He currently lends his expertise as General Partner at Pale Blue Dot, a European Climate Tech Venture Capitalist investing in pre-seed and seed stage startups focused on building scalable companies that help to reduce or reverse climate change and prepare for a new world.
We asked Hampus a few questions to better understand his motivations.
Sanjay is the Global lead for Technology Sustainability Innovation at Accenture and drives thought leadership and innovation in this area. He is also responsible for establishing and managing our ecosystem strategy for Sustainability, for developing our Technology Capabilities offerings and capabilities, and for embedding sustainability best practices in technology delivery.
As an innovator, Sanjay has been very passionate about bringing digital technologies to develop innovative solutions to achieve sustainable development goals, and decarbonizing digital technologies is his current area of innovation. He has over 25 patents in Software Engineering including AI. Sanjay believes big challenges such as Climate Change and building Trust in communities needs the collaboration of diverse stakeholders and he has worked extensively with non-profit organizations, academia, big business, start-ups and government to address issues such as biodiversity protection, financial inclusion, disability inclusion, gender equality, education, preventive healthcare and others. He also believes that now, more than ever, organizations need to prioritize sustainability to continue to be successful and profitable.
Sanjay was recognized as an Eisenhower Fellow in 2017 for his leadership in building a just and peaceful world using technology. He is also a passionate wildlife photographer and nature enthusiast with several of his pictures in Lonely Planet. Sanjay is a computer engineer and an MBA graduate and alumnus of Mumbai University and Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Sanjay Podder | LinkedIn
Sanjay provided in-depth responses to our questions about his motivations for working in the tech sustainability space.
Technology has a key role to play in achieving sustainability goals and addressing the climate challenges that we are facing today. One of the most widespread and impactful areas is migrating to cloud. Cloud is a fast-growing trend for businesses and is fundamental to digital transformation. A green approach to cloud migration can also be a key step for businesses in reducing their energy requirements and carbon emissions. So how can ‘Green Cloud’ help to reduce carbon emissions?
Technology has a much wider role to play beyond cloud too. It can help to extract carbon from the atmosphere and underpin energy transition to renewable energy sources like solar, wind, hydrogen, and nuclear - a key focus area for reducing GHG emissions.
Another area where technology can play a key role is reducing emissions in heavy industrial companies.
I am looking forward to Technology innovations in carbon capture. And carbon reduction in different industrial sectors from digital and data centers, heavy industries, agriculture, transportation, and others.
(1)Seeking Alpha, “China’s burgeoning cloud computing market is a tremendous opportunity”, May 12, 2020
(2)Eric Masanet, Arman Shehabi, Nuoa Lei, Sarah Smith, Jonathan Koomey, “Recalibrating global data center energy-use estimates”, Science Vol: 367, Issue 6481, February 28, 2020
(3)IEA, Data and Statistics, “CO2 emissions from electricity generation factors, Spain 2000-2017”, accessed July 2020
Baroness Bryony Worthington is a Crossbench member of the House of Lords, having spent a career working on conservation, energy, and climate change issues. She is the founder of Ember, is a key architect of the UK’s Climate Change Act.
Prior to her appointment as a Peer in 2011, Baroness Worthington worked at Friends of the Earth on their ‘Big Ask’ campaign, which successfully lobbied for the introduction of new climate change laws. She also worked for Scottish and Southern Energy advising on sustainability. While there she was seconded to Government to work on climate communications and the design of the 2008 Climate Change Act. In 2008, she launched Sandbag, a data-focused NGO that morphed into Ember, which is an independent climate and energy think tank focused on accelerating the global electricity transition from coal to clean.
During the coalition years of 2011 and 2015, Baroness Worthington served as Shadow Spokesperson for Energy and Climate Change and led on two Energy Bills for the Shadow Ministerial Team.
From 2016 to 2019 she was the Executive Director of Environmental Defense Fund Europe. Her current roles include co-chairing the cross-party caucus Peers for the Planet and devising grant-making strategies for the Quadrature Climate Foundation where she works as Co-Director with Cressida Pollock.
We asked Baroness Worthington a few questions to better understand her motivations for being a judge for Hack the Climate.
Information technology has a huge role to play in tackling climate change, which we view in three main ways:
Ultimately, to respond with the necessary urgency requires a combination of political interventions and real-world actions to replace the activities that pollute with clean alternatives. The effective use of Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning and Information & Communications Technology can help speed that process.
I'm interested in anything that can drive a real-world outcome. The challenge is to find sensitive intervention points where action can have an outsize effect. We need to focus on ideas that can scale. A good lever is needed, meaning a robust tool that applies force in a unique way. This could mean new ways of scanning, interpreting, and presenting the vast amount of information we now have at our fingertips to highlight problems and solutions or ways to aggregate concerns or ideas and direct them towards decision-makers at the right time to influence their decisions. Ideas that help people see that there are multiple benefits to tackling the fossil fuel and big agriculture economy that are causing the problem are also very interesting as they can drive change at a personal level and create political pressure if well executed. Ideas that help connect money to real-world projects are also good, but they must be able to scale, for example, a reinvented Kiva for climate.
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