CUHK Holds International Conference and Public Forum to Discuss Climate Change Challenge and Latest Research Findings
The Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability of The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) and the Chinese-American Oceanic and Atmospheric Association jointly organized ‘The 6th International Conference on Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Change’, from 19 to 21 August 2013 at Esther Lee Building, CUHK. Over 170 practitioners, researchers and educators from around the world who are engaged in research on atmosphere, ocean and climate change presented their latest researches and insights. The Conference was made possible through the generous funding support of The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust, and was hosted by CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia (Gaia). Co-organizers included the Department of Geography and Resource Management of CUHK and the Hong Kong Meteorological Society.
Mr SHUN Chi-ming, Director of Hong Kong Observatory, the HKSAR Government; Mr Anthony W K CHOW, SBS, JP, Steward, The Hong Kong Jockey Club; Professor Zhanqing LI, President of the Chinese-American Oceanic and Atmospheric Association; and Professor Joseph J Y SUNG, Vice-Chancellor and President of CUHK, officiated at the opening ceremony of the Conference on 19 August. At the opening ceremony, Professor Joseph J Y Sung said, ‘Climate change is not a distant environmental issue; it is the most daunting challenge facing the 21st century. Advancement in technology and science has brought us solid data. While practitioners, scholars and government officials are collaborating to pave a sustainable future, everyone shall strive to make a difference too. We are responsible for our future generations. It is time for all of us to make a change in our lifestyle.’
Jockey Club Steward Mr Anthony W K Chow said that the Club had devoted considerable resources to tackling climate change. ‘Since 2008, it has initiated the Environment Project to support such worthy schemes as community organic farming, glass bottle recycling, the development of animated education packages on low carbon living, as well as the Initiative Gaia project, a five-year community engagement programme partnering CUHK. We aim to encourage more active public participation and create a greener and more sustainable community,’ he noted.
At the 3-day Conference, research findings were presented under eight thematic sessions, including Climate Change and Our Actions; Asian Monsoon; Aerosol and Climate; Cloud and Precipitation; Weather Forecasting and Data Assimilation; Ocean, Air-Sea Interaction and Climate; Climate Variability and Modeling; and Remote Sensing.
On the third day of the Conference (21 August), Gaia held a public forum titled ‘Climate Change: A Global Challenge and Its Latest Situation’ with the aim of reaching out the wider community on the topic of climate change. At this forum under the ‘Environment and Climate Change Forum Series’, which was also a side event of the Conference, experts from different disciplines discussed the current situation of climate change and how to meet the challenge.
Mr Shun Chi-ming, Director of Hong Kong Observatory, was the keynote speaker of the forum. He remarked that climate change is a critical global challenge facing humanity. Its impacts, ranging from melting icebergs in the polar region and rising sea level, to frequent occurrence of extreme weather and destruction of biodiversity, endanger the planet. Mr Shun said that the Hong Kong Observatory had attended in July a meeting of the Intergovernmental Board on Climate Services held in Geneva, Switzerland, to develop the ‘Global Framework for Climate Services’, an international initiative launched by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO). The objective of the Framework is to strengthen and extend the effective use of scientifically-based climate information, which will allow societies and stakeholders to cope with the natural variability of climate, or climate change induced by the human activities. He encouraged the public to participate in combating climate change by first making positive behavioural changes at the individual level. Environmental groups and the academic sector should work together to provide platforms for information exchange and knowledge transfer, thereby empowering the community to work out lasting environment-related solutions.
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia
CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia is a 5-year community engagement programme launched in 2012 by CUHK, with a generous donation of HK$54 million by The Hong Kong Jockey Club Charities Trust. Committed to paving a sustainable future for Hong Kong, the programme aims at promoting environmental conservation and sustainability in local communities, through public education and carbon reduction partnerships with schools and non-governmental organizations.
Rising environmental awareness, together with the proactive policies implemented by the government, has inspired the community to advocate for environmental protection. In order to draw on collective wisdom and to encourage active public participation in pro-environment activities, CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia organizes the ‘Environment and Climate Change Forum Series’. Experts and practitioners from different fields and the public are involved to confer on the best ways to deal with environmental challenges and impacts of climate change.
Also under the programme is the Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change, scheduled to open in late 2013, to present Dr Rebecca Lee’s valuable “Three Poles” collection (the North Pole, the South Pole and Mt Everest), innovative research in environment, energy and sustainability initiated by CUHK, and the Trust’s endeavours contributing to the improvement of the environment.
More details of the CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia can be found at www.cuhk.edu.hk/gaia.