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Responding to Climate Change 2011

Home | Education & Research | Instituto Politécnico Nacional

Research heralds the age of action

Instituto Politécnico Nacional

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Founded in 1936, Instituto Politécnico Nacional is a leader in the generation, application, diffusion and transference of technological and scientific knowledge. It was created to contribute to the nation’s economic, social and political development, through delivering professionals who are ethical, socially responsible and committed to improving the world.

The huge debate over human-related greenhouse gas emission and global warming has been a complex challenge for the scientific community. However, a broad body of evidence will answer the prolific uncertainties around the risks and potentially dramatic consequences.

As a critical issue for humanity, world leaders must confront climate change. Some actions have been taken, and indeed real answers lie in developing economic and political strategies to promote growth with sustainable development. These should be based on scientific knowledge.

In the developing economy, México, Instituto Politécnico Nacional (IPN), is the leading institution in technological education. As such, it is designated the academic link by México for COP-16. The institution explains why educational and research institutions have a key role to play.

Although environmental policy centres mainly around economic approaches, increasingly the public is expecting decisions informed and supported by technological and scientific research.

An Array of Answers

The intricate nature of global warming requires an array of answers, intertwined by many disciplines. The institution has structured interdisciplinary and transdisciplinary working groups defined as institutional networks, such as the environmental network which looks at solving concrete problems as diverse as management of waste, management of natural resources and environmental policies.

IPN’s research culture is integral to its environmental and sustainability programme which in turn drives forward the message of sustainable development across key modules. Some such elements are focused on the study and management of the environmental services, optimal advances of the resources, highlighting the environmental education, and research activities. The programme’s policies are established by an integrated group of advisers from different fields.

“This is the age of global warming… and of global warming studies.”

There is a special interest in promoting the participation of society as a whole as well as keeping it properly informed. The institution works, among others, with the National Advice for the Environmental Education and the Consultative Advice for Sustainable Development. Their scientists also contribute to the nationwide school curriculum around environmental education.

Leaping Over Boundaries

The intersectorial, interdisciplinary and interinstitutional convergence encouraged by IPN is reflected in the proposal currently being prepared for the CATEDRA UNESCO programme. The project aims to build an environmental science network bringing together the science community, private initiatives and government sector to encourage research and education and how that influences consequent policymaking.

Current research projects respond to specific and critical points of the environmental problems in México, and have been evaluated and accredited by national and international bodies. Specifically, IPN is focusing on research oriented around the mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. One study will develop and apply technological innovations to generate energy from organic matter. This involves upgrading biogas, by either converting CO2 into carbonates or photosynthesis into sugars, resulting in just methane, thus minimising emissions to the atmosphere.

Current knowledge about the global warming shows a daunting and uncertain panorama; however, the worse way is “No action”. William Nordhaus of Yale University wrote: “This is the age of global warming… and of global warming studies”. IPN believes, “This should be the age of action facing the global warming”.

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Instituto Politecnico Nacional

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