Collaboration of Energetic Transition and Climate Adaptation
Professor Marc Fontecave, a distinguished member of the French Academy of Sciences and a Professor at the Collège de France, delivered a pivotal lecture on 8 November at the recent France-Hong Kong Distinguished Lecture Series, hosted by City University of Hong Kong (CityU). The lecture highlighted the critical need for a coordinated approach between energetic transition and essential policies to adapt to escalating global temperatures.
Titled “Necessities and Challenges of the Energetic Transition”, the lecture marked the revival of the series, which had been on hold since 2019. Among the distinguished guests in attendance were Mrs Christile Drulhe, the Consul General of France in Hong Kong and Macau; Professor Freddy Boey, President of CityU; and Professor Cheng Shuk Han, Associate Vice-President (Research).
In his welcome address, President Boey emphasised the institution's commitment to advancing scientific research and societal transformation, highlighting the role of the Lecture Series in fostering discussions on pressing global issues that also have significant relevance for Hong Kong.
Mrs Drulhe commended the collaborative efforts between France and Hong Kong, facilitated by the France-Hong Kong Distinguished Lecture Series. She highlighted the potential to merge knowledge and creativity to drive innovative, sustainable and resilient energy solutions.
During his lecture, Professor Fontecave highlighted the impracticality of achieving ambitious climate goals like zero carbon by 2050 in a short span, advocating for a pragmatic perspective to navigate the transition effectively. He also underscored the imminent need for proactive policies to accommodate the planet's probable temperature increase beyond 1.5 degrees Celsius.
Professor Fontecave also highlighted the critical necessity of energy storage and stressed the urgency of addressing the inability to harness excess electricity. He advocated focused efforts in innovative research, sustainable technology, and managing societal transitions in response to inevitable environmental changes.
He mentioned that decarbonisation, particularly in the context of transportation and electricity, is a complex issue. While renewable energy is a crucial part of the transition, it presents its own set of challenges and limitations, underscoring the need for time and patience in this process.
The audience engaged in a lively Q&A session, addressing pressing global issues. One question probed the role of nuclear energy in France, prompting Professor Fontecave to stress the importance of energy sovereignty and urging a shift in focus from merely reducing fossil fuels to considering all aspects of energy independence and the broader impact on society.
The France-Hong Kong Distinguished Lectures are a series of high-profile lectures organised by CityU under the auspices of the French Academy of Sciences, the Consulate General of France in Hong Kong and Macau, and The Légion d’Honneur Club Hong Kong Chapter.