Like a fire-and-brimstone preacher, Nathan S. Lewis has been giving a lecture on the energy crisis that is both terrifying and exhilarating. To avoid potentially debilitating global warming, the chemist from the California Institute of Technology says civilization must be able to generate more than 10 trillion watts of clean, carbon-free energy by 2050. That level is three times the U.S.’s average energy demand of 3.2 trillion watts. Damming up every lake, stream and river on the planet, Lewis notes, would provide only five trillion watts of hydroelectricity. Nuclear power could manage the feat, but the world would have to build a new reactor every two days for the next 50 years.