KT Edit: Put people at the heart of green solutions

The Sustainability Week is engaging all stakeholders, especially the youth to find the right solutions and ensuring participation of all.

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Published: Tue 15 Jan 2019, 7:58 PM

Last updated: Tue 15 Jan 2019, 10:01 PM

The International Renewable Energy Agency in its report, Global Energy Transformation: A Roadmap to 2050, released last year stated that renewable energy needs to be scaled up at least six times faster for the world to start meeting the goals set out in the Paris agreement. It is certainly not an easy task and can happen only if countries jointly pursue this goal. There's no denying that government policies and initiatives help a great deal in shaping collective choices and behaviours. Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is a good example of this. In its ninth edition, the event has garnered interest from countries far and wide and inspired the young to look for creative solutions to modern-day problems. Sustainability isn't just a buzzword in public policy circles and the corporate world, it has become a way of life in the UAE where schools, communities, colleges, and other public institutions often collaborate with government departments and the private sector to sensitise people and raise awareness about the merits of being environment friendly. The result is for all to see: per capita carbon emissions have fallen substantially in the last couple of decades.
It's a commendable change, but more needs to be done. The National Climate Change Plan of the UAE for 2017-2050 offers a great roadmap. The plan is to generate 24 per cent of the electricity needs from clean energy sources by 2021.
Debates and discussions during the Sustainability Week will further add to this progress and help devise strategies for a greener future.
We must act now to avoid the ravages of climate change. But environmental changes cannot be seen in isolation. Their impact and consequences need to be measured and equated with social and economic implications on the lives of ordinary men and women. Unilateral decisions like a green tax burdens household budgets. Yellow vest protests in France are prime examples. Environmental sustainability shouldn't trump economics, or vice versa. The planet is heating up to breaking point. That's the reality. What the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week is doing is to engage all stakeholders, especially the youth to find the right solutions and ensure participation of people who really make a difference.

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