WFES Discussion Forum Concludes Copenhagen Conference was a ‘Failure’

ABU DHABI - So what now after Copenhagen? International government and non-government authorities met on the second day of World Future Energy Summit (WFES), to discuss the outcome and the next steps to be taken after the United Nations’ conference on climate change held in Copenhagen 
last December.


Silvia Radan

Published: Wed 20 Jan 2010, 11:19 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 Apr 2015, 10:25 AM

There was much disagreement during the Copenhagen conference, as representatives of 192 nations, failed to reach an agreement on cutting down gas emissions and curbing the fast pace of climate change.

Dr. Rashid bin Fahad, the UAE Minister of Environment, opened the WFES discussion forum here on Wednesday with a strong statement: “We failed to fulfil what we set out to do.” “Copenhagen was a disappointment and one reason was because the expectations were too high, ” he added.

The accord too was a compromise and was only signed in the last hour. Drafted by Brazil, China, India, South Africa and United States, the main problem with the accord is that it does not commit countries to legally set a follow up of Kyoto Protocol, which has certain targets for green house gas emissions and which expires in 2012.

From Dr. Fahad’s point of view, funding is another bit issue. Under the accord agreement, developed countries will raise $30 billion between 2010-2012, which will be used to help developing countries towards investing in renewable energy, and another $100 billion per year by 2020 to help developing countries cut down on carbon dioxide — the main component of green house gas emissions, mostly blamed for climate change.

“There is no mention, though, how this $100 billion would be raised, which countries would benefit from it and on what criteria the money would be given to the chosen developing countries,” argued Dr. Fahad.

The same goes for the transfer of renewable energy technologies. The developed world agreed to help developing countries with technology, but who, how much, and when, nobody knows.

“What we have after Copenhagen is an extremely short window of opportunity, and if we do not take it now the effects of climate change will be very negative, and I would even say disastrous,” said Dr. Rajendra Kumar Pachauri, director-general of the Energy and Resources Institute.

He agreed with Dr. Fahad that help should be given faster and prioritised for the regions that come under the biggest threat, such as the Maldives, Bangladesh and South Africa.

“The impacts of climate change here will be progressively serious, resulting in sea levels rising and heat waves, so it is important to implement the Copenhagen aid very quickly,” said Dr. Pachauri, referring to the United Arab Emirates and Gulf region.

Another crying need is to involve businesses and industries in shifting towards clean, renewable energy.

“If we make them part of the solution, then half the job is done,” he said. Jonas Gahr Store, Norway’s Minister of Foreign Affaires, pointed out that it is economically possible for an oil-based economy to make a transition to renewable energy.

“Norway is the world’s fifth largest oil exporter, 11th oil producer and second gas producer,” he revealed.

By 2050, Norway plans to be carbon neutral, meaning that no carbon emissions would be released to the atmosphere.

“We know the world needs fossil fuel, but during transition towards alternatives we must keep emissions down,” added Store.

The Scandinavian country plans to invest $1 billion in carbon capture (the system that allows to “capture” carbon emissions and burry them deep under empty ocean oil fields).

Last year, Norway invested $140 million in renewables energy and its latest project is to invest $500 million to preserve Brazil’s rainforests.

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