The Conference

The most crucial global challenge for the planet’s survival is preserving living conditions within tolerable limits for the species that inhabit it. It is urgent to stop and start reversing the harmful effects of global warming caused by human action and the current production system, which has caused a persistent and rapid increase in greenhouse gases and pollution. In the energy transition lies the essence of the answer to the challenge, particularly the need for solutions that drastically reduce the emission of greenhouse gas, which implies political action and technological innovation.

Political action, given the priority that governments (do not) give to investments and subsidies for disruptive technological innovations, contrary to what happened during the 3rd industrial revolution in the 1970s. Not only due to short-sighted, short term positions, but also because there are well-differentiated opinions on ways to combat the harmful effects of global warming – either caused by the burning of fossil fuels, or by intensive agricultural and animal production practices, or by industries such as cement and steel mills. Unfortunately, these are usual practices both in more industrialised countries, the main polluters and in less-industrialised countries. In this equation, in addition to the positions of governments and the private sector, popular mobilisation has gained increasing expression around civil society organisations and particularly youth, which has been increasing and whose influence can be decisive to encourage, force or reverse policy decisions and investment priorities.

Technological innovation, due to the need to continue the search for new solutions for the generation of cleaner energies without neglecting the increase and improvement of current renewable energies, which are not, by themselves, sufficient to generate the energy needed for the world. Renewables barely managed to surpass the 20% threshold of primary energy production in the last 60 years, which continues to be based on the production of hydrocarbons. Despite the investments made and the decrease in the costs to produce energy from wind, solar, hydro wave and other renewables, that caused a spectacular increase in the supply of renewables in recent years, their relative weight has been absorbed by the growth in population, consumption, industrialisation and urbanisation. Today, more than ever, technological solutions are needed to allow consistent energy storage, the production of batteries made from abundant and non-polluting resources, the capture at the source of CO2 and other greenhouse gas emissions, ways to extract hydrogen from water or without burning hydrocarbons, improving energy efficiency and other solutions, including the “black swan” of the ever-desired, but not yet achieved, nuclear fusion.




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With the Cooperation of the Embassy of Japan in Portugal