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Global warming

Plenary / Panel
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High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy, French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Paris Abstract
The ITER project: a key step towards the mastery of fusion energy?
Could it help to overpass the dramatic energy challenges the whole world will be facing before the end of the present century ?

Presently, over 80% of the world consumption of energy (over 11 billions of tons of oil equivalent per year) comes from fossil fuels: coal (25%), petroleum (34.5%) and natural gas (21%). Two reasons impose to find an alternate world energy policy as soon as possible: a) the absolute need to reduce the large greenhouse gas and other polluting gas emissions associated with fossil fuel combustion, if we want to avoid to go on spoiling the environment and increasing the risk of a brutal dramatic, and may be irreversible, climate change in the near future, b) even if we may find soon an economically and technically viable way to capture and sequestrate the huge gaseous quantities of wastes coming from the fossil fuel combustion, the world will run out of fossil resources within the two next centuries.

Whatever the energy savings the world could afford to reduce its energy demand in the future, there will be an unavoidable need to find another way to produce electricity massively and continuously to complement the electricity which could be produced (20% of the needs?) from renewable sources (wind mills, solar photovoltaic cells, hydraulic turbines, biomass combustion,& ). The reasons are the forecast of 9 billions of people living on our planet before 2100 and the right for each of them to benefit of a sufficient energy to reach what is now considered now as a wished minimum for an acceptable standard of living (2-3 toe/year).

Nuclear fusion, which provides huge amounts of energy in the Sun and other stars for billions of years so far, and will go on for other billions of years in the future, is a very attractive hypothesis to consider: with less than two kilogrammes of hydrogen fuel per day, a power of 1000 MW of electricity can be produced continuously, whereas more than 6 000 tons of oil per day would be required for the same energy output.

Are we able to control on Earth such a process of massive energy production and to develop it at the industrial scale in the safe and sustainable conditions the society is now requiring? What are the main scientific and technical issues? Are there enough available fuels for thousands of years? What is the best way to recover them? To what are they transformed? What are the ultimate wastes they produce and how to manage them in a sustainable way?

They are some of the few issues that seven large countries or Federations of States (China, India, South Korea, the United States of America, the Federation of Russia, Japan, the European Union + Switzerland) agreed on November 21 in Paris to consider jointly in a large unique 35 years common research program on the thermonuclear fusion under magnetic confinement. These parties will work together along these lines for the joint construction and operation of a large magnetically controlled fusion research facility at Cadarache, in France, named ITER, the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor. The next step will be to build a demonstrator which will produce electricity effectively in a sustainable way by 2035-2040. The importance of this program is highlighted by the fact that the 32 involved countries represent more than half of the world's population and over 75% of the world's gross annual production, and that more countries are still willing to join.
Nobel Laureate for Chemistry; Professor emeritus, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz Abstract
Despite their relatively small mass, 10-5 of the earth biosphere as a whole, generations of ambitious 'homo sapiens' have already played a major and increasing role in changing basic properties of the atmosphere and the earth's surface. Human activities accelerated in particular over the past few hundred years, creating a new geological era, the 'Anthropocene', as already foreseen by Vernadsky in 1928: "& the direction in which the processes of evolution must proceed, namely towards increasing consciousness and thought, and forms having greater influence on their surroundings."

Vernadsky's predictions were more than fulfilled. Human activities are affecting, and in many cases out-competing, natural processes, for instance causing the 'ozone hole', the rise of greenhouse gases with their impact on climate, urban and regional air pollution, 'acid rain', with all their consequences for human and ecosystem health. These problems are also increasingly affecting the developing nations of the world. Despite the tremendous progress that has been made, major questions remain and much research needs to be done.

There are major uncertainties regarding future human activities and their impact on climate and environmental chemistry. Some examples are given.
Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Washington Abstract
As climate science has strengthened, so too has understanding of the opportunities to address climate change. There is now broad recognition of the need to approach this very serious challenge in the context of energy security and sustainable economic development.

The United States is leading new efforts to promote clean energy technologies and address global climate change. President Bush has called on the world's major economies to set a long-term global goal for reducing greenhouse gases. As part of the establishment of this new framework for the post-2012 world, each country would establish midterm national targets.

This new initiative builds on extensive U.S. efforts to improve energy security and cut greenhouse gas emissions. These include $37 billion dedicated to climate-related programs since 2001, the Asia-Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate and other clean technology partnerships, and a plan to reduce gasoline use in the United States by twenty percent in the next ten years. In 2006, U.S. carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 1.3%, while the U.S. economy grew by 3.3%.

The United States remains committed to work with all Parties to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, with a renewed focus on combating deforestation, promoting climate adaptation, and improving technology access.
Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York Abstract
There is a huge gap between what is understood about global warming, by the relevant scientific community, and what is known about global warming, by those who need to know, the public and policy-makers. The Earth's history shows that our climate is remarkably sensitive to global forcings. Positive feedbacks predominate and have allowed the entire planet to be whipsawed between climate states in the past. Civilization has existed only during a brief interval of climate stability, the Holocene. Human-made greenhouse gas emissions now place the Earth perilously close to dramatic climate change that could run out of our control, with great dangers for humans and other creatures.

Humans have the capacity to alter their influence on the atmosphere and climate. Indeed, as opposed to continued "business-as-usual" human emissions to the atmosphere, we can foresee the potential for a brighter future, with reduced emissions of pollutants that affect climate, human health, agricultural productivity, and chemicals in ocean species. Science can help define the changes in emissions that are needed to stabilize climate and cleanse the atmosphere and ocean, but polices to achieve needed changes are the prerogative of the public and their representatives.
Dean emeritus and distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.
Editor in Chief and Managing Director, NZZ Austria; Mentor, Alpbach Media Academy; Vienna Chair

Dr. Bernard BIGOT

High-Commissioner for Atomic Energy, French Atomic Energy Commission (CEA), Paris

1975-1980 Assistant professor at "Ecole normale supérieure de Saint Cloud", France
1980-1981 Assistant visiting professor at Purdue University, West Lafayette (USA)
1981-1983 Assistant professor at "Ecole normale supérieure de Saint Cloud", France
1987-1993 Professor of physical chemistry at "Ecole normale supérieure de Saint Cloud"
1993-1998 Director general R&D, French Ministry of higher education and research, Paris
1998-2000 Professor of physical chemistry at "Ecole normale supérieure de Saint Cloud"
1998-2002 Director of the "Institut de recherches sur la catalyse", UPR 5401, CNRS, Lyon (200 staff members)
2000-2003 Director "Ecole normale supérieure de Lyon"
since 2003 High commissioner for Atomic Energy, France

Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Paul J. CRUTZEN

Nobel Laureate for Chemistry; Professor emeritus, Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry, Mainz

1968 Meteorology, University of Stockholm, Sweden; Ph.D. (Fil. Lic.)
1969-1971 Fellow of the European Space Research Organization at Oxford University, England
1973 Dr. Sc.
1969-1971 Fellow of the European Space Research Organization at Oxford University, England
  and Researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder (half-time), Colorado, USA
1974-1977 Consultant at the Aeronomy Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (half-time)
  Colorado, USA
1977-1980 Senior Scientist and Director of the Air Quality Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder,
1976-1981 Adjunct Professor at Colorado State University, Fort Collins, Department of Atmospheric Sciences
  Division of the Max-Planck-Institute, Mainz
1980-2000 Member of the Max-Planck-Society for the Advancement of Science and Director of the Atmospheric Chemistry
1987-1991 Professor (part-time), University of Chicago, Department of Geophysical Sciences, USA
1991-1992 Tage-Erlander-Professor of the Swedish Natural Research Council at the University of Stockholm, Sweden
since 1992 Professor (part-time), Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, La Jolla, USA
1997-2000 Professor (part-time), Utrecht University, Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Sciences, Netherlands
since 2000 Emeritus at the Max-Planck-Institute for Chemistry


Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs, Washington

 B.S.F.S. summa cum laude in International Politics from Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and an M.A. and Ph.D. in Soviet political/military affairs from Harvard University
1980-1987 Director of European and Soviet Affairs, National Security Council
1990 Deputy Head, U.S. Delegation, Copenhagen Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe
1987-1990 Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Human Rights
1990-1993 Associate Director for Policy and Programs, United States Information Agency
1994-1997 Senior International Affairs and Trade Adviser, Hunton & Williams
1997-2001 Senior Vice President and Director of the Washington Office of the Council on Foreign Relations
2001-2005 Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs
since 2005 Under Secretary of State for Democracy and Global Affairs

Ph.D. James E. HANSEN

Director, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York

 Hansen heads the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, which is a division of Goddard Space Flight Center's (Greenbelt, MD), Sciences and Exploration Directorate, and is an Adjunct Professor of Geology at Columbia University's Earth Institute. He was trained in physics and astronomy in the space science program of Dr. James Van Allen at the University of Iowa. His early research on the properties of clouds of Venus led to their identification as sulfuric acid. Since the late 1970s, he has worked on studies and computer simulations of the Earth's climate for the purpose of understanding the human impact on global climate. He is perhaps best known for his testimony on climate change to congressional committees in the 1980s, which helped raise broad awareness of the global warming issue. He was designated by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in 2006.

Dr. Peter F. KROGH

Dean emeritus and distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.

 Studied Arts in Law and Diplomacy and Philosophy at Tufts University
1958-1960 Trainee and Acting Assistant Branch Manager, The New England Merchants Bank, Boston
1961-1962 Instructor in Government, Tufts University
1962-1967 Assistant Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
1963-1967 Host, television interview program, "Backgrounds" - WGBH-TV, Boston
1965 Visiting Scholar, The Brookings Institute
1967-1968 White House Fellow, Special Assistant to the Secretary of State
1968-1970 Associate Dean, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, Tufts University
1970-1995 Dean and Professor of International Affairs, School of Foreign Service
1982-1988 Moderator, weekly PBS television program on foreign affairs "American Interests"
1988-2005 Moderator, PBS television foreign affairs series: "Great Decisions"
since 1995 Dean Emeritus and Distinguished Professor of International Affairs, Georgetown University, Washington, D.C.


Editor in Chief and Managing Director, NZZ Austria; Mentor, Alpbach Media Academy; Vienna

ab 1988 Studien der Theologie, Germanistik und Klassischen Philologie an der Karl-Franzens-Universität Graz (nicht abgeschlossen)
1991-1994 Außenpolitik-Redakteur, "Kleine Zeitung"
1994 Redakteur in der Chefredaktion, "Kleine Zeitung"
1995-1997 Chef vom Dienst, "Kleine Zeitung"
1998-1999 Stellvertretender Chefredakteur, "Kleine Zeitung"
2000-2001 Chef vom Dienst, "Standard"
2002-2004 Stellvertretender Chefredakteur, "Die Presse"
2004-2012 Chefredakteur, "Die Presse"
2013/14 Leiter, Media Academy, Europäisches Forum Alpbach
seit 2015 Chefredakteur, ""

Technology Forum

show timetable


10:00 - 23:00Presentation of the three Christian Doppler Laboratories concerning allergiesCulture
10:00 - 12:00Technology brunch hosted by Tiroler ZukunftsstiftungSocial
13:00 - 13:20Welcome addressPlenary
13:20 - 14:00OpeningPlenary
14:00 - 16:00Global warmingPlenary
16:30 - 18:15The frontiers of science [in cooperation with the Institute of Science and Technology Austria]Plenary
20:00 - 21:30Looking insidePlenary
21:30 - 23:30Reception hosted by Alcatel-Lucent AustriaSocial


09:00 - 18:00Junior Alpbach - Science and technology for young peopleBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 01: The risk and the new - 'risk governance'Breakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 02: The changing industrial landscape  challenges, opportunities, strategiesBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 03: Climate change and risk governance - the role of research, science and innovationBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 05: New initiatives and models of the 7th EU Framework Programme on Research to enhance European competitiveness - European technology platforms from the Austrian and the European points of viewBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 05: The end of IT-innovation - the growth opportunity for Europe?Breakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 06: The impact of climate change on mobility - challenges for infrastructure and private transportBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 07: Design by nature - nature's contribution to industrial progressBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 08: Smart WellbeingBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 09: The five sensesBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 10: Technology transfer in European regionsBreakout
09:00 - 14:30Working Group 11: The phenomenon of Second Life - the creation of a new world?Breakout
09:00 - 18:00Ö1 Children's University Alpbach - Science and technology for kidsBreakout
09:30 - 15:30Special event: Bulgaria and Romania as partners in EUropean science and researchBreakout
15:00 - 16:30Regions and global competitionPlenary
16:30 - 18:00The future - dream or realityPlenary
18:30 - 20:00The five sensesPlenary
20:00 - 23:30Reception hosted by the Province of Lower AustriaSocial


09:00 - 10:00What changed?Plenary
10:00 - 11:00SecurityPlenary
11:30 - 12:00Junior Alpbach and Ö1 Children's University Alpbach 2007Plenary
12:00 - 13:00Science & technology, entrepreneurship & societyPlenary
13:00 - 13:20A look back and a view aheadPlenary
13:20 - 14:30Reception hosted by Microsoft AustriaSocial