"Climate Change 360°" at HKU Stephen Hui Geological Museum (26/9-18/11)
This exhibition is a Universcience’s production designed and produced by Science Actualités, a team of journalists from both the Cité des Sciences et de l’Industrie and Association des journalistes scientifiques de la presse d’information AJSPI. To coincide with the United Nations Climate Change Conference in Paris between 30 November and 11 December 2015, Climate, the 360° exhibition, takes a closer look at the issues raised by the increase in greenhouse gas emissions produced by human activity.
Climate Change, a challenge to humanity.
The BNP Paribas Foundation has since 2010 been running the Climate Initiative, a support programme for scientific research designed to improve human understanding of climate fluctuations and assess the consequences for our environment. With an annual budget totalling a million euros, the Climate Initiative has to date enabled ten international research teams to examine a range of topics linked to the phenomenon of climate change.
As a further extension of its commitment to this field, the BNP Paribas Foundation is partnering with the Universcience on the Climat, l’expo à 360° event, in order to help raise public awareness of climate change issues.
Where: Stephen Hui Geological Museum G/F & 1/F James Lee Science Building, The Department of Earth Sciences, The University of Hong Kong, Pokfulam Road, Hong Kong
When: From the September 26 to November 18, 2016 (closing date of COP22))
The exhibition focuses on:
I) Results of climate observation
Weather stations, merchant ships, Argo floats, weather balloons and satellites used to monitor the climate are revealing how the Earth is warming – with visible consequences, such as the melting of Arctic sea ice. Is this the first time this has happened in the history of our planet? To answer this question, climatologists use climate indicators to understand how the environment has changed overtime, including ice cores, sediment cores, tree rings and pollen grains. These indicators show that the Earth’s temperature has risen in the past, but never over such a short period of time.
II) Causes of global warming
The planet is warming. That’s a fact. But why? Many things have an impact on the climate, including the angle of the sun’s rays, the position of the Earth relative to the Sun, volcanic activity, the wind, arise exchanges, etc. Only relatively recently, humanity’s activities (industry, transport, agriculture and deforestation, etc.), combined with a significant increase in population, have led to a rise in the level of greenhouse gases (gases that trap heat) in the atmosphere. After years of debate stoked by “climate change sceptics”, climate experts (IPCC) are almost entirely sure that mankind is responsible for the rapid warming of our planet, and that its impact on the climate is accelerating.
III) Forecasts by climatologists
How will the climate change in the future? To forecast climate change, researchers have developed computer models to monitor various parameters in space and time (air or sea temperature, wind, rainfall, clouds, etc.). These models need further improvement, but they allow us to predict broad trends. They show that, if humans continue their activities at the present rate, the planet will warm four times more rapidly this century than last; the rise in ocean waters will proceed at a rate three to five times faster, leading to the possible disappearance of certain regions. And that’s without taking into consideration the destruction of sea and land ecosystems or the increasing incidence of extreme weather events.
IV) Preventive measures
What can we do to combat climate change, limit its impact or adapt ourselves to it? On a global level, in Europe and in France, are we really allocating the resources necessary to reduce greenhouse gas emissions? What technological and industrial solutions should we put in place? What financial mechanisms, such as the hotly-debated “carbon tax”, can be implemented? Which are the best energy and agricultural transitions being considered worldwide? How do we avoid penalising developing countries of the Southern hemisphere? A long list of issues need to be addressed before we can achieve the goal set by the governments of countries involved in the UN’s climate negotiations of limiting global warming caused by humans to 2°C between now and 2100. To achieve this, they need to reach an agreement on reducing greenhouse gas emissions at the end of 2015 as a successor climate regime to the Kyoto Protocol (2005-2020).
Justin Monier, Scientific Officer in Hong Kong
Julie Metta, Scientific Officer in Hong Kong