Climate change: what to say and how to say it

Pubblicato su Science on the Net

According to the Special Eurobaromer 409, around one out of six Europeans think that climate change is the single most serious problem that the world is facing. The survey provides some measures on the perception of climate change in relation to other world problems and collected the opinions on who within the EU is responsible for tackling climate change. We had the great pleasure to speak about the usefulness of this important tool with Luca Mercalli (LM), President and Editor in Chief of the Società Meteorologica Italiana, and Sergio Castellari (SC), senior scientist at the Centro Euro-Mediterraneo per i Cambiamenti Climatici and at the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanologia.

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A tour through European scientific governance

Pubblicato su Science on the Net

European research is fundamental for guaranteeing future competitiveness to our economies, as acknowledged by all EU member States that committed to reach investments in research and development equal to 3% of GDP. Up to date, however, the funds allocated by the 28 Countries of the Union remain below the 2% of GDP and on average do not exceed 0.7% (Fig. 1). Some Nations, however, are reversing their route. In 2000, Germany and France presented similar balance sheets; ten years later, Germany remains the only country that constantly increased public funds. Also Spain and Portugal registered an increase, whilst Italy, since 2007, showed a continual decrease.

It is not a surprise that our Country invests in research less than the European average. Much has been written about possible solutions and paradigm shifts. Increasing funds is doubtlessly the first step, but it is also essential to review our governance system, whose management is sub-divided among countless Ministries and Bodies, resulting in inefficiencies, additional costs and discontinuity. As this was not enough, the Italian system is affected by a chronic poor interest in result application and cooperation with industry that, from its side, invests little and find hard to link private research activity with the input coming from the public research centres. Disentangling the many knots that slow down the development of Italian research is challenging indeed because of the high complexity of the system, but the management of such a central sector in the knowledge society does not represent a problem for our Country only. Let’s have a look at some of our European neighbours to see how they have faced the same issue.

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Which future for ICT?

Pubblicato su Science on the Net

Presently, the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector represents 4.8% of the EU economy. According to the forecasts, the investments in this field will increase by about 25% under Horizon 2020 compared to FP7. This year, for instance, more than 1 billion Euro will be available. Research and development (R&D) in ICT technologies can produce concrete benefits for the citizens.

Recently, a report highlighted the importance of Unlocking the ICT growth potential in Europe, especially as regards mobile broadband, cloud computing, Big Data and Internet of Things. As reported in the document, four scenarios show that ICT could be a major source of growth for the EU, which was estimated by The Conference Board in 2013, but also using the paper of van Ark et al. (2013).

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Pubblicato su Scienza in Rete

Horizon 2020+10! I ministri federali tedeschi Barbara Hendricks (BMUB) e Sigmar Gabriel (BMWi), insieme ai colleghi omologhi di Francia, Regno Unito e Italia (Andrea Orlando), hanno chiesto alla Commissione Europea di fissare al più presto obiettivi alti e vincolanti per quanto riguarda le politiche climatiche e quelle energetiche.

Nella loro lettera, infatti, hanno espresso l’intenzione di voler ridurre le emissioni del 40% entro il 2030 rispetto al 1990. Il documento condiviso afferma anche che la protezione del clima favorirà l’innovazione, l’occupazione e la crescita economica rafforzando le economie europee nel loro insieme.

La posizione tedesca sugli obiettivi climatici per il 2030 è frutto di un accordo tra SPD e CDU/CSU, ovvero i partiti che formano la Große Koalition. Oltre a questo, il terzo governo Merkel punta al raggiungimento autonomo di obiettivi legati all’efficienza energetica e all’uso delle fonti rinnovabili. Non sembra esserci quindi alcun dubbio su chi abbia assunto un ruolo guida in Europa.

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