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Future of energy should be sustainable

Silvia Radan & T. Ramavarman / 19 January 2010

ABU DHABI — Disappointments from the Copenhagen summit on climate change should not dampen efforts to reduce increases in global temperatures, said world leaders at a four-day forum held in the capital.

(From L-R) Greek President Karolos Papoulias, President of the Maldives Mohammed Nasheed, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Malaysian Prime Minister Mohamed Najib bin Abdul Razak, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Zayed al-Nahayan, Spain's Crown Prince Felipe and Denmark's Crown Prince Frederik Andre Henrik Christian attend a panel session at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi on January 18, 2010. – AFP

In the first international meeting on the subject since Copenhagen, which resulted in a non-binding agreement to reduce temperatures, representatives of various countries said it was necessary to continue to bring down emissions and support developing countries in their efforts.

Click here for special coverageEnergy ministers at a panel discussion on the opening day of the World Future Energy Summit said that for the adoption of renewable energy to succeed and for climate change to be stalled, developing countries must avoid repeating the mistakes that were made by industrialised countries.

“Yes, Copenhagen was a disappointment, but it also showed that the world is on an irreversible shift towards lower carbon,” said Ed Miliband, Secretary of State for UK’s Energy and Climate Change. He said the way forward is to get as many countries as possible to sign the Copenhagen agreement and keep cutting carbon emissions.

“Europe has moved towards its highest ambitions yet, by pledging to cut 30 per cent of its carbon emissions by 2020,” said Miliband.

For some countries, such as the Maldives, the issue is more than pressing than for others. Maldives is a nation at risk of disappearing forever as a result of a rise in sea water levels due to melting of ice caps.

“If we don’t act now, our coral reefs and rainforests will die, desert countries will become unbearably hot and low-lying countries like the Maldives, will slip beneath the rising seas,” said the President of the Maldives, Mohammed Nasheed.

“Tackling climate change is not like dealing with other global issues, such as trade or disarmament. We don’t have the luxury of time to meet, year after year, in endless negotiations.”

“The Copenhagen Accord, in its current form, will not prevent catastrophic climate change. Our challenge this year and the next is, therefore, to strengthen the accord so it becomes a blueprint for planet-saving action,” Nasheed added.

However, some Gulf states said a mix of fuels were needed.  Abdulla bin Hamad Al Attiyah, Qatar Deputy Premier and Minister of Energy and Industry, said developed countries should set their own carbon emission reduction targets. They should force other countries to abide by them, he said.

 “I’m not against renewables. I don’t like the word alternative,” he said. “We should work together to find a balanced energy mix useful for each country, instead of trying to develop an antagonism between renewables and fossil fuel.”

Mohamed bin Dhaen Al Hamli, UAE Minister of Energy, said the country would continue to develop and use multiple energy sources including fossil fuels, nuclear energy and renewable energy. Abu Dhabi, the host of the International Renewable Energy Agency, sits atop the world’s fifth largest oil reserve.

However, the UAE, through IRENA and Masdar, its headquarters, has made a pledge to help developing countries move ahead with adoption of renewable energy through investments and sharing expertise.

Jurgen Becker, State Secretary of the Ministry of Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety in Germany, said, and other European representatives, agreed that developed countries were largely responsible for the high amount of green house gas emissions present today. “We don’t want to tell developing countries what to do. We want to show them that the path followed by industrialised countries was wrong and they should not follow in our steps,” said Becker.

(With inputs by AFP)

Email : silvia@khaleejtimes.com, ramavarman@khaleejtimes.com

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