The goal of this one-day symposium (28/09/2019) is to bring together the experts in the area of climate change, air quality, and public health to emphasize the long-term goals and explore the near-term actions that benefit humanity.
Climate change is unarguably the most important threat facing humanity. The use of fossil fuel is the main cause for the climate change to date and climate change that is unavoidable because of actions to date. Furthermore, the future emissions of greenhouse gases, CO2 in particular, is a major threat. The Paris Accord, though agreed to by many countries, has not produced the needed greenhouse gas emission reductions- the CO2 emissions are not going down to meet the 2C target, let alone the 1.5C aspiration.
The same fossil fuel use, along with other compounding factors, has led to deterioration of air quality, first in the developed world and now in the developing world. The health impacts of the fossil fuel use due to air quality deterioration is immense- the current estimates are more than 2 million premature deaths every year, mostly in the developing world. The deterioration of air quality is most visible now in Asia. It is very likely that Africa and Latin America will follow the same pattern of deteriorating air quality for economic gains. This would jeopardize more lives in the future.
Humanity cannot completely stop use of fossil fuels, at least in the near-term. So, what do we do?
To address this question, the symposium will bring together the leading experts of the day in all these areas. It includes a keynote address by Prof. Mario Molina, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry, who has worked for decades on environmental issues.
The Keynote will be followed by three panel discussions:
- What is the current state?
- What are the long-term goals and aspirations?
- What are the short-term actions we can take to abate climate change and improve air quality?
The format of the panel discussion is to have 3 to 4 speakers talking for ~15 mins each followed by 45 minutes of Q&A from the audience.