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Kottayam, Kerala: The four-day international conference on climate change and developing countries got under way here on Friday evening.

Inaugurating the conference, Mahatma Gandhi University Vice-Chancellor Rajan Gurukkal stressed the need to make the knowledge generated in the scientific community disseminate among the people so that society would be able to think about collective action.

According to him, this was a case of the scientific community getting contained in their own field itself and being not concerned about the political outlet of taking the knowledge out.

Arguing that among others, ecological science was the most difficult to communicate, Prof. Gurukkal said the core reason for the state of affairs was that the language of crisis and language or disaster were the only existing ways open to disseminate the knowledge generated in natural sciences.

Delivering his keynote address, Benny Peiser, U.K., said some aspects of ecological science, as of now, was facing a crisis of credibility and called upon the scientific community not to exaggerate [climate] predictions.

He also said that currently the world was faced with a situation where there was no alternative for hydrocarbons as the cheapest form of energy and nations alike India and China would have to rely on the cheapest form of energy to bring the dreams of the booming urban population into reality.

Even [some European companies] which utilise alternative energy sources were finding it difficult to remain competitive as nearly 20 per cent of their energy budget were spent on alternative energy [and green taxes].

Michael R. Hoffman, Department of Environmental Science and engineering, California Institute of technology, U.S., released the proceedings of the conference.

M.K. Prasad, director, Information Kerala Mission, chaired the inaugural session. C.T. Arvindkumar, professor School of environmental Sciences, MG University welcomed the gathering and E.V. Ramaswamy, director, School of Environmental Sciences, proposed a vote of thanks. The conference will continue on Saturday.

The Hindu, 21 February 2010