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Energy Summit balances Copenhagen setbacks

T Ramavarman / 22 January 2010

ABU DHABI - The four-day World Future Energy Summit, or WFES, concluded on Thursday on a high spirit of consensus among the world leaders, brightening up the hopes of a better outcome at the ensuing global climate change talks in Mexico, in contrast with disappointing results of the Copenhagen Summit.

The WFES which was an extraordinary assembly of large number policy makers, entrepreneurs, experts and activists from more than 130 countries across the globe  ended with a categorical assertion that renewable energy is no longer the energy of the future ‘but it has already arrived ’, and that it can make a significant contribution in mitigating the grave threats of climate change.

“A monumental shift is taking place in the debates over energy and climate change. Nowadays nobody is asking whether clean energy should be adopted or whether climate change is really happening. Every country in every region is enthusiastically searching and adopting renewable energy as they are convinced of the impact of indiscriminate fossil fuel burning on the environment and climate,’’ Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, President of Iceland said in his keynote address at the concluding  session of the Summit.  “The humanity is facing a financial crisis, a humanitarian crisis emerging out of the lack of means for subsistence for vast sections of people and an ecological crisis. Renewables have an important contribution to make in addressing all these forms of crises,’’ Prince Albert Alexander, Louis Pierre of Monaco, Marquis of Baux said in his keynote address.”

Expressing happiness over the amazing success of the Summit, Helene Pelosse the Interim Director General of the International Renewable Energy Agency or IRENA told Khaleej Times “I’m glad that the WFES has become platform for focusing on the renewable energy as an important component in mitigating the effects of climate change.’’

Unlike the Copenhagen Summit, the WFES could walk that extra mile in reviving the hopes on mitigating climate change threats because of its positive focus on the alternative solutions offered by the renewable energy, rather than getting bogged down by the disputes of reduction targets.

“It may be difficult to make all countries accept a specific amount cut in carbon emission levels, and it is complex monitor the implementation of such norms and ensure compliance. But it could be easier to make all the countries accept that they must include a particular percentage of renewables in their energy mix, an expert attending the Summit said.

The Summit  emphasised the need for cooperation among all the stakeholders, the policy makers, industry, experts and activists for developing renewable energy. Global and regional level cooperation must be strengthened in this area.  Diversity of energy mix and policy frameworks for different countries was another issue that was emphasised at the discussions. The participants also spoke on the need for making renewables cheaper than present, and the governmental policies have an important contribution to achieve this, apart from mobilising adequate resources for research and development from private and public entities.

More than 23,000 people have attended the event, representing a 25 per cent increase over 2009, the organisers claimed in a statement here. The event, hosted by Masdar, the clean energy initiative of Abu Dhabi has welcomed representatives from across Asia, Europe, The Americas, Africa and the Middle East. 

The event has been hailed as a success by many, and is a further boost to Abu Dhabi’s position as a renewable energy hub.  Ed Milliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change for the United Kingdom said, “I think this is the centre of the clean energy revolution that is going on around the world.”

The World Future Energy Summit has, this year, attracted more political engagement than ever before with more than 100 government delegations attending.  The strong numbers are clear testament to the continued momentum that is building around renewable energy.

Attendance has exceeded expectations with figures reaching more than 23,000 attendees said Ara Fernezian, Group Exhibition Director at Reed, the show organisers.  He went on to say, “The event has exceeded our original expectations by more than 15 per cent.  Such record numbers of people involved is testament to Abu Dhabi’s growing status as a hub for renewable energy.”



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