World must unite to produce renewable energy

ABU DHABI - All countries, including oil-producing nations, must unite to develop renewable energies and reduce carbon emissions, said the head of the International Renewable Energy Agency, or IRENA, on Tuesday.

By T. Ramavarman

Published: Wed 20 Jan 2010, 1:15 AM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 2:34 PM

Helene Pelosse, the Interim Director-General of IRENA, speaking to Khaleej Times on the sidelines of the World Future Energy Summit on Tuesday, said all oil producing, and consuming countries, were united on the need to develop renewable energies on a large scale.

“How else will you explain the growth of IRENA from 75 member countries to 140 countries within a year,” Pelosse said. However, at a panel gathering of energy ministers on Monday, the Qatar Minister of Energy and Industry said developed countries should set their own carbon emission reduction targets rather than force other countries to abide by them.

“All the countries should share the responsibility for reducing carbon emissions,” she said, responding to the Qatar minister’s comment.

“But the oil producing countries should urgently take the initiative in develop renewables without waiting for their fossil fuel reserves to dry up.

“They may have considerable reserves now, but they should realise that those reserves are going to dry up one day or the other.

“But solar energy and other renewables will be with use for millions of years. Also there are issues of carbon emission and global warming.

“Are they going to wait till the global temperatures to go up to unbearable levels before embarking on renewable energy programmes?”

He also said that while he wasn’t against renewable energies, he did not like the term “alternative” when referring to energy sources, and instead advocated an energy mix. The UAE Minister of Energy made similar comments at the Monday panel, backing UAE’s decision for a mix that also included nuclear energy, which is not considered a renewable energy.

Pelosse said IRENA accepted that different countries will have varying levels of renewables and other forms of fuels in their future energy mix, and it was difficult to prescribe a uniform energy mix for all the countries.

However she said all the countries agreed that the share of renewables should be increased as quickly as possible. Pelosse said she was optimistic that discussions by world leaders at the energy summit this week would contribute to strengthening follow-up action on the recently concluded Copenhagen Climate Summit.

The agency head said the discussions were positive and could contribute to achieving a better outcome at the next Climate Summit scheduled to take place in Mexico later this year.

She maintained that subtle differences among the countries taking part in the summit will not slow the momentum that has been gained in strengthening global efforts to identify and develop sustainable forms of energies and reduce dependence on high carbon-emitting and finite fossil fuel sources.

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