Prof. Costas N. Papanicolas, President of The Cyprus Institute, participated as a guest speaker at the important conference "Climate Change, Planet Health and the Future of Humanity", which took place in Vatican City on November 15, 2018. The conference was organized by the Vatican Academy of Sciences, under the auspices of Pope Frances, and in collaboration with the National Research Council of Italy (CNR).
In preparation for the UN COP 24 Climate Summit to be held in Katowice (Poland, December 2018), the workshop was intended to lay the groundwork for a last call to the international community to take immediate and drastic measures to limit global warming. As noted in circulars by the Academy and in an encyclical on climate change by Pope Francis, the effects of climate change are catastrophic for the stability of life on Earth, and can pose a serious threat to human well-being, even risking the very survival of mankind. Climate change-driven pressure has become so strong that it can originate famine, and encourage the spreading of diseases, large migrations and even conflicts and wars. Political decisions taken so far so far do not meet the scientific recommendations as to the urgency of the situation and the need for international participation. The rate of global warming continues unadulterated, and the effective global policies that need to be taken at the international level are still debated.
The conference was attended by distinguished personalities and members of the international scientific community, including professor and Nobel laureate Stephen Chu who also served as former US Secretary of Energy, Prof. Jeffrey Sachs, Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network, Prof. Hoesung Lee, Chair of UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and Massimo Inguscio, President of the National Council of Research of Italy (CNR).
In his address, Prof. Papanicolas analyzed the impacts and challenges posed by climate change in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East, areas considered to be most vulnerable to Climate Change, and discussed mitigation solutions, mainly via the use of solar energy. He also promoted the role of Cyprus and The Cyprus Institute, which, due to their know-how on climate and solar energy, offer an excellent location and a unique opportunity for cooperation between Mediterranean countries on addressing the threats of climate change.
It is worth pointing out that The Cyprus Institute was also represented in another session of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences in 2017, where Prof. Jos Lelieveld, head of the climate modeling group of CyI's Energy Environment and Water Research Center (EEWRC), was invited to present relevant results on Climate Change.