|The Roman Forum close to the Capitolium, venue of the 3rd day of the Conference|
The 10th annual SISC conference on climate change, SISC2022: Governing the Future is over. Friday 21st was the 3rd and last day of the conference held at the Protomoteca hall at the Rome’s Capitolium. This is the 1st year I participate in the conference with a work about land use and classification using satellite optical images and a convolutional neural network. Climate change is not only a scientific topic. As everyone is experiencing or witnessing its consequences on the environment, a lot of studies and research are dedicated on how to address its impacts on health, food production, the economy and society in general at different scale, from a global perspective to a local one and in particular on urban areas. This is the first time the conference was held offline since 2019. In three days I had the opportunity to learn about the research work that is being pursued in areas in which I have little or no knowledge at all, such as food production in ocean waters and policies studies for adaption and mitigation actions. I had also the opportunity to meet many people that work on different issues related to climate change. I’d like to mention Riccardo Valentini, professor of Forest Ecology at the Tuscia University, a leading author of the 5th IPCC report and winner of the 2007 Nobel Prize for Peace as a member of the IPCC board; Antonello Pasini, climate change scientist at the Institute of Atmospheric Pollution Research of the National Research Council, author of several books on climate change and its impacts on our planet, blogger at the Le Scienze and speaker in many broadcasting services; Mita Lapi, coordinator of the Sustainable Development Department at the Lombardy Foundation for the Environment. Mita took part on a field work on the Adamello glacier that was presented at the conference and told me how the Italian Society for Climate Sciences was born as a place for researchers and institutions working on the many different facets of climate change to meet, share their knowledge and collaborate. A side event that was held at the Capitolium was about Cities and Climate and had as invited speakers Francesco Rutelli, former mayor of Rome, journalists and current administrators of the city. Rutelli made many sensible statements, one particularly relevant and not always mentioned was that if we want to move away from a fossil fuels based economy, governments and industries have to foster the kind of productions that are inevitably going to replace the old ones and take into account the social impacts of such changes for example by re-training the people that will loose their jobs in the old economy in order to be able to work in the new one. There is a strong need to adapt cities like Rome to the climate change and one is to replace fossil fuels with renewable sources such as solar panels. Rome has 245 $Km^2$ of built areas, 19% of its territory, of which 45.5 $Km^2$ are buildings so I asked one of the city’s administrators if there is any study to assess the feasibility of installing solar panels on the roofs of such buildings. He told me there is not yet such study. I think this is one of the many tasks in which satellite images and machine learning algorithms can help citizens and decision makers to make the best decisions on our path to a new world. This might be my inspiration for some future work on Deep Learning.
In conclusion, this was my first conference in the city in which I was born and it was a great experience. I do believe that Rome is a very good place to work on climate change issues, not only because international organizations such as The UN-FAO, the World Food Programme, and ESA-ESRIN have here their headquarters, but also because Rome can be a laboratory for governing the future instead of being passively brought to adverse and unpleasant scenarios.