Jan 17 2013

Climate-change debate heats up as Abu Dhabi hosts summit

Government leaders and thousands of exhibitors, including clean-energy investors and scientists from around the globe, convened in Abu Dhabi this week to attend this year's World Future Energy Summit.

The renewable energy experts also showed off the latest solar, wind and hydro power in a three-day summit which kicked off on Tuesday but were bluntly told by some experts that it's just not enough.

Insider spoke with various people in the capital about the importance of conserving energy and what more can be done to protect the environment. Emirati Imran Khalid, who works for a public department in Abu Dhabi, said energy conservation is vital to development.

"There can be no meaningful development in a nation without sustainable energy," he added. He noted that Abu Dhabi authorities however have to increase renewable power generation projects.

"It's very important to control carbon emissions so as to protect the environment and avoid future catastrophes," said Bulgarian expat Allan Henz. "Authorities here have shown endeavors to fight gas emissions but I believe a lot still needs to be done to further protect the environment."

Egyptian expat Mohammed Swaleh, who is a geography teacher at an Abu Dhabi college, said climate change is a major concern worldwide. "Arid regions like the UAE need a lot of recycling and reuse of treated wastewater to meet their development goals while reducing energy, carbon, and environmental footprint," he said.

Swaleh believes that better technologies for producing high-quality water through wastewater treatment can help bring more development to the capital. While addressing delegates at the summit on Tuesday, renowned US economist and sustainable development expert Jeffrey Sachs warned that the world is sleepwalking towards an irreversible and dangerous rise in global temperatures.

"We are in trouble," he said on the global response to climate change. "The world is not on the right course and we are not getting on the right course fast enough."

Sachs said greenhouse gas emissions are continuing to rise despite efforts to reduce them. Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, HH Lieutenant General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, said the UAE would continue to do its part to "ensure energy, water and food security".

French President Francois Hollande said the world would face "catastrophe" if countries didn't collaborate on a renewable future.

© 7Days 2013

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