Chemistry Council at Downing Street for energy solution talks
25 July 2006
Leaders of the British chemistry community were today at 10 Downing Street urging 'out of the box' thinking to meet the 21st century energy challenge.
The Royal Society of Chemistry delegation met with energy minister Malcolm Wicks to underline the central role that chemistry must play in providing answers to future energy production and to waste management.
Presenting the case for chemistry was Chief Executive Dr Richard Pike, in a large delegation led by RSC president Dr Simon Campbell with the Council of the 43,000-member organisation.
Simon Campbell said: "This afternoon I relinquish the Presidency of the RSC after two very active and rewarding years and to do so on the day that we were at Downing Street to discuss energy is very gratifying."
Dr Pike pointed out to the energy minister that chemical sciences can provide energy that is secure, affordable and sustainable, all essential qualities in the battle to address climate change.
The RSC Delegation to Downing Street
After his presentation Richard Pike said: "We underlined that saving energy is critical and stressed the vital importance of nurturing and harnessing UK research skills.
"We urged that a stimulating vision be developed for the near and longer-term future and that sound mechanisms are developed, paralleled by strong science funding to deliver the solutions."
Dr Pike added: "But it is also essential that everybody in the science community is encouraged to think and to plan creatively. The kind of possibilities that we are suggesting include artificial photosynthesis to capture and store carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, in addition to more conventional means, together with use of biomass.
"Additionally we should examine mass reforestation including genetically-modified plants - or even sea plankton - to capture carbon dioxide more rapidly."
Dr Pike stressed the need for realisation that captured carbon dioxide must be stored for thousands of years. "Biological devices will have to be prevented from decaying to avoid re-release of gas."
He added: "Overall there must be a mix of nuclear fuels, renewables, and clean use of hydrocarbons, coupled with effective resource management, conversion technology and waste management."
Downing Street Energy Presentation
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