The aim of this Conference ,unlike the usual meetings on energy ,is not primarily
to discuss technical and scientific aspects, but to provide information for the
public about the need to develop and use sustainable sources of energy so as to
preserve the climatic and environmental balance of the planet.
DAY - Energy: Present and Future Sources
It is vital to have the means to
assess the environmental, social and economic impacts of different approaches
to energy production and storage for the future. In this session various energy
sources have been surveyed, including nuclear fission, nuclear fusion, fossil
fuels, plant biomass, solar energy and geothermal energy, and their possible roles
in a future sustainable energy scenario examined.
SECOND DAY - Energy:
Environment and Health
The burning of fossil fuels really got underway with
the industrial revolution, and has continued at an increasing pace to the present
day. Carbon dioxide, released into the atmosphere by burning, is a major greenhouse
gas, and is now known to be causing climate change on a massive scale. There will
be changes in the atmosphere, the oceans and terrestrial ecosystems that will
profoundly affect the lives and health of ordinary people, the world economy,
and the well-being of the planet.
These far-reaching effects of past and future
energy use have been discussed: the projected climate changes and their consequences
have been examined, including their effects on biodiversity, individuals and humanity
as a whole.
THIRD DAY - Energy: Ethics, Politics and Economics
energy challenge is now known to be related in a fundamental way the global environmental
challenge. Both have major ethical, political and economic implications. For both,
a key concept is sustainability, whose ramifications and implications are emerging
from research involving the physical and natural scientists on one hand and the
social scientists on the other. The sustainability of development is being put
under serious pressure by the burgeoning economic growth of the Asian economies
and their billions of citizens. Strategies to address energy needs and environmental
problems must be practical enough to form a basis for stable international agreements
but cannot afford to neglect the ethical dimension, since decisions are being
taken that will have major impacts on future generations.
sessions have been particulaly exciting:
A DIFFERENT POSITION on global warming has been reported.
some CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS.
At the end of the
conference ,the Venise Energy Charter has been published . Venise
THE HOPE OF BIOENERGY Twenty percent of transport fuel from sustainable
sources by 2020 - a reachable objective with the aid of biofuels according to
Michael Bevan, vice-president of the European Plant Science Organisation|
September 20, 2007 - "Neither politicians nor pundits have woken up to the
enormous potential of plants to help solve the problem of safe sustainable energy
supplies." said Michael Bevan, biologist at the John Innes Centre, Norwich,
and vice-president of the European Plant Science Organisation. Bevan was talking
at the Third World Conference on the Future of Science, which opened today at
Venice, and is concerned with The Energy Challenge. "The objective of getting
20% of European transport fuel from sources other than petroleum can be reached
with the contribution of plants grown to produce biofuel."
-use of the sun's energy to transform carbon dioxide into sugars and hence plant
tissue (biomass), with the release of oxygen - is what plants, algae and some
bacteria do. These organisms are therefore at the base of the food chain supporting
nearly all life on Earth, including human life. The remains of photosynthetic
organisms were gave rise to the coal and oil deposits we exploit today. Rapid
use of these fossil fuel reserves, and the increasing pace of global industrialisation,
have progressively disturbed the balance of the atmospheric gases established
and maintained by photosynthesis. These changes are predicted to destabilise climates,
leading to reduced food security and increased social dislocation.
sustained Bevan, "plants themselves can help provide solutions to these problems.
We are developing crop plants for biofuel production, using the exciting and rapidly
developing technologies of modern molecular biology, including genetic manipulation,
and high throughput functional genomics to identify new genes for biomass production
and conversion, while at the same time looking for now sources of biodiversity
for breeding programmes."
"The plants used to produce biofuels
have so far been of limited efficiency," commented Chiara Tonelli, general
secretary of the Conference, and lecturer in genetics at the Department of Biomolecular
Science and Biotechnology at the University of Milan: "At present biomass
provides less than 1% of transport fuel mainly because we use plant species ?
like maize, wheat, rape and sugar cane ? to produce ethanol and biodiesel, but
these species have been selected for thousands of years produce food, not fuel.
We need to select plants with a reduced environmental footprint. We are studying
Miscanthus, a perennial grass, as well as poplar trees and oak trees that require
little maintenance and may be particularly apt as biofuel sources. There is also
the promise that we may soon perfect an economic and efficient technology for
degrading plant cellulose so as to produce ethanol from agricultural wastes like
straw, and crass cuttings from city parks."
For more details visit:
European Plant Science Organisation
EFFICIENT AND SUSTAINABLE USE OF ENERGY
emissions can be reduced by nearly 80% according to the latest World Energy Outlook.
How? By using new production techniques, new materials and new energy-efficient
technologies for transport and the home.
In most industrialised countries
over a third of the energy consumed goes on transport, over a third on domestic
heating and air conditioning, and less than a third on industrial production.
However for comparable quality of life and industrialisation, pro-capita energy
consumption varies considerably: 4-6 kW in western Europe and Asia, 10 kW in the
USA. The difference is largely due to differences in use of energy-saving technologies.
'Several technologies to reduce energy consumption are well-developed and
some are on the market. Zero non-renewable energy houses are available. Safe and
comfortable automobiles that consume less than 5 litres per 100 km, emitting less
than 12 kg of CO2 per 100 km are available. Yet we prefer using low efficiency
technologies. The main reason is probably that the cost of energy is too low in
many countries, although social and cultural factors also play a role."So
explained Louis Schlapbach, head of the Swiss Federal Laboratory for Materials
Science and Technology (EMPA)
'Scientific progress in the following areas
will contribution to energy efficiency in the future.
the transformation of low temperature heat into electricity. New materials and
nanostructures promise to make this process more efficient. Friction reduction.
Friction between tyre and road is essential; friction in engines wastes energy.
New coatings and quasi-crystalline or complex alloys promise to significantly
reduce engine friction with a potential saving of 100 medium-size power stations.
Fuels from biomass. Hydrogen and its Storage. Hydrogen is a clean, zero-carbon-footprint
fuel with potential and also problems for use as a transport fuel. Zero non-renewable
energy buildings. New building techniques combined with good design and functionally-coated
glass can reduce energy consumption to very low levels. Zero use of fossil fuels
for heating/air conditioning should become the norm for new buildings. Magnetic
energy is little used at present because of its low density, but prototype magnetic
cooling devices already exist.
'Finally, the latest World Energy Outlook
estimates that more efficient use of fuels, particularly in cars and truck can
reduced CO2 emissions by 36%. More efficient use of electricity can reduce that
footprint by an additional 30%. More efficient production methods can save a further
CLIMATE CHANGE: WHAT ARE THE HEALTH RISKS? |
increase in temperature, and the more ferocious heat waves that result, cause
5 million more disease episodes and 150,000 deaths more each year. For Western
countries, however, the greatest threat to health still comes from 'unhealthy'
"Global warming has various direct and indirect effects",
so emphasised Richard Klausner, sometime special advisor to the US president and
until recently head of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, "It is a direct
cause of increased or worsened cardiovascular, respiratory and infectious diseases.
The most striking indirect effect concerns insect-borne disease. The insect-borne
disease that currently takes the highest toll on human life is malaria, and all
indicators are that disease is spreading. But malaria is far from alone in the
infectious disease category.
Human health depends on adequate nutrition. The
effect of climate change, already apparent in the droughts of Africa are portends
of things to come and illustrate the profound health consequences of agricultural
failure. The horn of Africa and Sudan are early case studies in the impact of
severe climate stress, which in part underlies the devastating wars which, in
turn, have resulted in dramatic health crises. Extreme climatic events like hurricanes
and cyclones become more violent as the mean temperature rises, with devastating
effects on the health and welfare of people in the affected areas."
The professor Lindzen has been the White House counsellor
on climate issues. His figure has been associated with the Bush's position vs
Kioto protocol. He has been contested during Venise conference by his colleagues
and by journalists. Any way he has defended his position that is summarised as
The issue of global warming is typically subject to support that
is based on simulation with numerous adjustable parameters. The question asked
is essentially whether there is any way that models can be made to both project
significant warming in the future while replicating at least the global mean surface
temperature history of the past century or so. This procedure deviates importantly
from conventional scientific approach which emphasizes testing hypotheses. The
current approach seems designed not to test anything but rather to promote a particular
type of scenario. According to the latest IPCC Scientific Assessment, one attributes
recent warming to man's activities because models do not otherwise display such
warming. This is almost identical to the argumentation used to support Intelligent
Design. Moreover, the IPCC never states whether its iconic claim provides any
support for the numerous alarming claims for the future. It also does not account
for the interesting cessation of global warming during the last ten years or so.
question addressed in the present paper is whether we can do better than this.
There are, in fact, several reasonable approaches that have been taken which lead
to the conclusion that the IPCC has exaggerated the role of anthropogenic greenhouse
gases. We address the simplest of the possible approaches here. It is shown that
the use of basic greenhouse theory coupled with carefully designed model runs
(using models employed in the IPCC (*)assessment) and readily available standard
observations leads to a concrete answer to the question of how much of recent
warming is due to added greenhouse gases. The results are, in some ways, not so
different from what the IPCC claimed. We find that no more than a third of the
observed surface warming can be attributed to greenhouse forcing as opposed to
the IPCC claim that most of the surface warming is due to man. However, the approach
described, by isolating the greenhouse contribution, also permits one to estimate
climate sensitivity, and suggests that the impact of greenhouse additions over
the next century is unlikely to significantly impact climate.
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, is the ONU organisation composed
by scientistsand specialists with the aio of studying climate.
CONFERENCE ABSTRACTS posted on "TDF public forum"|
[06.LS.TDF.2007 - 07.12.2007]