China / Society

Scientists share ideas on saving environment

By Ma Wenying ( Updated: 2012-10-16 13:50

More than 120 scientists and scholars from home and abroad discussed new tools and instruments for the observation and management of environment development during the two-day SCOPE-Zhongyu Environmental Forum on Oct 13-14 in Taiyuan, Shanxi province.

Two scientists, Professor John Giesy from the University of Saskatchewan in Canada and Professor John Freney from CSIRO Plant Industry in Australia, received the SCOPE-Zhongyu Lifetime Achievement Awards for their significant contributions and expertise for regional and global syntheses. Zhu Yongguan, a scientist from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, received the SCOPE-Zhongyu Young Scientist Award at the opening ceremony of the forum for "his environmental arsenic research that opens up new directions for bioremediation technologies and mitigation."

Scientists share ideas on saving environment

Professor John Freney (C) of CSIRO Plant Industry in Australia, receives the SCOPE-Zhongyu Lifetime Achievement Award from Lu Yonglong (R), president of SCOPE, on Oct 13, 2012, Taiyuan, Shanxi province. [Photo by Ma Wenying/] 

"We try to, by using this platform, to discuss environmental hot topics," said Lu Yonglong, president of the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE). Talking about topics for the forum this year - new tools and instruments for the observation and management of environment development - Lu said: "When we look back, especially after the Rio+20 conference, we are coming to a new stage. After so many years of environmental improvement and environmental management, what tools have been used in the process? Which tools are really effective? Which tools are we looking forward to having an impact on environmental management?"

During the forum, scientists from more than eight countries gave presentations in three parallel sessions on research into community participation in climate change mitigation, ecological risks of reclaimed water irrigation, the environmental impact on food systems, social and environmental indicators and sustainability assessment for biofuel supply chains, and the environmental impact of license plate number-based driving restrictions in Beijing.

Talking about community participation in climate change mitigation, Andrew Bell, from the UK Committee for UNESCO Man and Biosphere Programme, said "no consultation with the community and not sharing benefits" were the major causes of failure of carbon reduction projects in the past. In addition, change of end-users" behavior also matters in climate change mitigation.

"What we do affects the environment," Professor John Ingram, from the University of Oxford, said during his presentation on the environmental impact of food systems. "Food systems include a number of activities related to producing food, processing food, packaging and distributing food, retailing and consuming food," Ingram said, and these activities "lead to a wide range of environmental impact… Food processing consumes significant amounts of water and energy and food packaging requires paper and card (which both demand land use change for pulp production, with consequences for forestry operations affecting biodiversity and pollution). Transporting food also makes a large direct contribution to greenhouse gas emissions."

SCOPE-Zhongyu Environmental Forum is organized and sponsored by the Scientific Committee on Problems of the Environment (SCOPE) and the Zhongyu Environmental Technologies Corp, aimed at sustaining and guiding the development of environmental science and technology and fostering cooperation in environmental protection and management strategies. The first SCOPE-Zhongyu Environmental forum was held last year in Yixing, Jiangsu province.

The SCOPE-Zhongyu Environmental Awards were inaugurated in 2010. This 10-year program recognizes and encourages outstanding scientists who contribute to the improvement of the world environment through promotion of environmental sciences, technological advances and research on the best management practices.

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