Research efforts and academic programs within Qatar Foundation (QF) that are contributing to addressing the global challenge of climate change have been outlined at a conference jointly hosted by HEC Paris, a QF partner university.
Ahead of COP21 – the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, being held in Paris in November-December 2015 – more than 100 guests, including representatives from the Ministry of Environment, attended the conference organized by HEC Paris and the French Embassy in Qatar.
Under the theme ‘Towards the COP21: Facing the Challenges of Climate Change’, the event saw Dr Philippe Freyssinet, Director of Energy and Environment, Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), an entity under QF, provide a synopsis of the scope of current Qatar-based research focusing on the environmental risks facing the region due to climate change issues, and the role of research and innovation in addressing regional CO2 emissions.
Speakers also included His Excellency Eric Chevallier, Ambassador of France to Qatar, with Professor Laoucine Kerbache, Dean and CEO, HEC Paris, explaining how universities have the potential to be “climate adaptation hubs”, developing the teaching, research, knowledge, and skills needed to “create resilient communities in an uncertain climate”.
Up to 40,000 delegates, representing 194 countries, will convene at COP21 with the aim of progressing a new international agreement on climate change that keeps global warming below a certain level. “Climate change is not a theoretical risk – we need to mitigate global warming, and adapt to this reality now,” said Ambassador Chevallier.
“France, as the host country of the COP21, has a special responsibility in raising awareness on this global issue. We are working in close cooperation with our Qatari partners to act on this subject, both locally and internationally.”
At the conference, Dr Freyssinet illustrated the research and development work being conducted within QF and Qatar on CO2 abatement technologies, particularly Carbon Capture and Sequestration projects, where waste CO2 is transported to a storage site and deposited in a location where it will not enter the atmosphere, such as in an underground geological formation.
Highlighting the risks that rising sea levels create for Qatar – including flooding, land loss, coastal erosion, and contamination of groundwater – he explained that QNRF has supported research projects in various areas of global climate change, such as its impact on marine biodiversity, climatic and oceanic conditions, urbanization, and the monitoring of the effects of climate change.
QNRF joined the Belmont Forum, comprising major funding agencies from around the world that collaborate on addressing global environmental challenges, in 2015.
HEC Paris is engaged in research projects, some with QNRF support, in fields including energy efficiency, smart grids, consumer behavior, and electric cars.
“As the global community of nations have deemed it necessary to immediately address series and pressing environmental issues and concerns, HEC Paris strongly believes it is its duty and responsibility to assist in the facilitation of intellectual and scholarly discussions that will positively and significantly contribute to the objectives of COP21,” said Professor Kerbache.
“We are honored to have worked with the French Embassy in Qatar on this matter, and shall continue to support all efforts toward the achievement of COP21’s goals. Furthermore, for many years now, HEC Paris has been active in developing and delivering research initiatives and academic programs related to sustainable development and climate change.”