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Introduction of SEE Forum
Chairman of SEE Forum
Dr. Susumu Yoshikawa, Emeritus Professor of Kyoto University

The Sustainable Energy and Environment Forum (SEE Forum) is an Asia-Pacific academic and science and technology network that brings forward the dialogue on global climate change and energy security issues of common concern among the Asian countries. The overall goal of the SEE Forum is to promote “New Energy Initiative”, through cooperative activities in research, education, training, and policy making, by establishing the Networks of Excellency (NOE) in new energy science and technology, and bringing up lots of talented youth.

As the 4th IPCC report had concluded that the human activities were mainly responsible to the global climate change, the facile shift of primary energy resource from fossil fuel to more sustainable ones is inevitable. Following this conclusion, major political leaders, including President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Hatoyama, pledged to lead the reduction of global green house gas emission, during the last years, and the international society is now trying to get the consensus on the 50% reduction of global CO2 emission by 2050. However, the strategy to realize this target is still vague. We accepted “New Energy Initiative” as the major target of this Forum, recognizing that the energy is the key issue to the common tasks faced today in every country, such as environment, poverty, economy, and food, without saying about global climate change issue.

Although all from government, public, academic, and private sectors are requested to devote themselves to this global climate change and energy security issues, we academic people have the special position with un-replaceable role to solve this issue through scientific and technological approach, although there is no single solution to the dual problems of meeting future demands for energy and managing the social and environmental consequences of new energy systems.

In our New Energy Initiative, any kind of activity is defined as new energy, as long as it is contributing to replace the fossil fuel use and reduce carbon dioxide emission without suppressing economic growth. In this sense, the new energy can be classified into three categories, namely new energy systems (Shin-Ene), energy saving technologies (Shou-Ene), and reducing ways of energy use (Gen-Ene). Although the idea is to be deepened through the discussion in SEE Forum, followings show the some examples for each category: 1) As to the Shin-Ene, all kinds of renewable energies should be commonly developed. 2) Relating to the Shou-Ene, the efficiency improvements in every energy use and system are to be included, such as energy efficient vehicles, houses, transporting systems. 3) Gen-Ene is related to rather socio-economical approaches to achieve the reduction of energy use, through regal or social rules, IT introduction, and so on. For each category, lots of scientific and technological innovations are expected in future, which can be the common targets of academic society in Asian countries.

Overall target of New Energy Initiative is to establish the sustainable development scenario for the future world, a photo-synthetic type economy, mimicking what the life system has achieved so far. The cost of large technology demonstration projects is enormous and the time to develop them seems to be decades. Unimaginable energy technologies will rest on fundamental research that must start now. Humanity must complete a marathon of technological challenge, ending far over the horizon.

Initially, SEE Forum was established as a side meeting of 2nd Sustainable Energy and Environment conference 2006 (SEE 2006) at Bangkok in November 2006, in cooperation with Kyoto University, Japan, and the Joint Graduate School of Energy and Environment (JGSEE), Thailand. Currently, the SEE Forum secretariat office is located at GCOE office in Kyoto University under the cordial support of Kyoto University Global COE Program on “Energy Science in the Age of Global Warming ~ Toward a CO2 Zero-emission Energy System ~”, leaded by Prof. Takeshi Yao, Dean of Energy Science School, Kyoto University. This GCOE is the successive Center of Excellence of Kyoto University 21 COE program on “Establishment of Sustainable Energy System”. Without this continuing supports of this Global COE, such a versatile activity of SEE Forum has been impossible. I want to express my sincere gratitude to all Global COE members for their excellent supports to SEE Forum. Furthermore, JGSEE is really the invaluable partner of our Forum with excellent cooperation of Prof., Dr. Bundit Funtamasan and his colleagues. Recent cooperations from the ministry of education, science, sports, and culture, Japan, and JST, JICA, and JSPS, Japan, are also to be addressed for their inevitable supports.

To the Asian scientific community, I really hope SEE Forum can afford a chance to work together to develop solutions to the problems of global climate change and energy security issues that not only ensure our future economic development, but give Asian scientists and other related sectors the opportunity to be at the frontier of science and technology in the field of sustainable energy and environment. It is crucially important to make it realize.