Chemical scientists central to avoiding the perfect storm


24 March 2009

At the end of a week in which Britain's chief government scientist issued a grim forecast of world conditions in about 20 years time, the Royal Society of Chemistry has pointed out that chemistry must be at the core of scientific efforts to ensure humankind's welfare in the coming two decades.

The UK government's chief scientific adviser, Professor John Beddington, had predicted that by 2030 there would exist what he called "the perfect storm" conditions for social unrest internationally, stirred by demands and concerns over population expansion, energy, environmental conditions and water shortages.

But the 46,000 member RSC has stressed that the only way the world can avoid such a crisis is by continuing to innovate, and has underlined the importance of chemistry being placed at the centre of such innovation. 
Through its recent work to define the role of the chemical sciences in meeting global challenges, the RSC has outlined how the chemical sciences can provide technological solutions to food, water and energy shortages and illustrated the critical role chemistry will play in the pursuit of sustainable development.

The development of clean and secure renewable energy sources is essential, insists the RSC, in the quest to solve these interlinked issues and will rely on developments in chemistry.  

In its activities the RSC has demonstrated how the technologies the chemical sciences engender will improve the quality of daily life, underpin prosperity and will increase our readiness to face the challenges of the future. 

Dr Elliot Finer, of the RSC Council, said today: "Chemical scientists have been the unsung heroes behind most of mankind's progress, notably in providing healthcare, the supply of food and water, and the provision of energy.  

"They must remain at the core of research and development aimed at solving future problems, and must receive corresponding support from governments and society."

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