Clean Power Al Gore via World Economic Forum (some rights reserved)

Published on May 3rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Abu Dhabi Ascent

May 3rd, 2014 by  

abu_dhabi_ascentlogo_0I’m headed to Abu Dhabi yet again right now*, this time for Abu Dhabi Ascent, a major UN event that is supposed to feature former US Vice President and elected-by-popular-vote (but not officially elected) President Al Gore, UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair, Jeffrey Sachs, and some other big global players. It looks like it will be an interesting and exciting event. Actions shaped at Abu Dhabi Ascent will be unveiled during the UN’s Climate Summit in New York this September.

“The UAE initiative to host the Abu Dhabi Ascent is an important concrete contribution to the Summit,” said UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. “This meeting is a critical milepost on the way that will help build the momentum we need for a successful Climate Summit. I look forward to working with all leaders to ensure that the Summit catalyzes major steps on the ground and toward an ambitious global climate agreement.”

Of course, this follows the recent release of the IPCC’s 5th major report on global climate change and what is needed in order to stop unprecedented catastrophe.

“The Abu Dhabi Ascent will rally leaders from government and the private sector to begin a collaborative process to help catalyze necessary actions to mitigate climate change,” said Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change.

“The world can no longer overlook the realities of climate change and must unite its efforts to find meaningful, commercially driven solutions,” said Al Jaber. “The UAE continues to lead by example in the arena of clean energy and sustainable development. Backed by the visionary commitment of our government and through initiatives like Masdar, the country is taking real steps to usher in a low-carbon economy and sustainable future.”

9 “high-impact areas” will be the focus of discussions and action plans:

  1. energy efficiency
  2. land use and forests
  3. finance
  4. renewable energy
  5. agriculture
  6. resilience
  7. transportation
  8. short-lived climate pollutants
  9. cities

Abu Dhabi Ascent and the upcoming meeting in New York are both leading up to the 2015 UNFCCC Climate Change Conference in Paris, COP21, which is where the next step of a global, binding climate agreement will be negotiated… hopefully with more substantial results than in previous attempts.

Of course, anyone who has followed my coverage from previous Abu Dhabi events knows that Masdar is a leading force advancing the cleantech revolution globally. Aside from coverage of Abu Dhabi Ascent, I’ll also be getting a closer look at some of the work going on at Masdar Institute during this trip. While the UAE is still very clearly in the oil and gas industry, it is always very uplifting to see what Masdar is working on.

Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala, Abu Dhabi’s strategic investment company, has invested in or developed nearly 1 gigawatt (GW) worth of grid-connected renewable energy projects across the world. And then there’s also the work it is doing at Masdar City and Masdar Institute. It’s a very bright spot in the midst of catastrophic fossil fuel use, in my humble opinion.

“With an exponentially rising global energy demand that puts tremendous pressure on our natural resources, the world must move toward a sustainable, low-carbon future,” said Dr. Al Jaber. “The UAE recognizes the impacts of climate change and the need to diversify the global energy mix to include clean sources of power. In fact, we’re making serious investments in wind and solar generation, clean technology research and driving sustainable technologies.”

*Masdar is covering my trip to Abu Dhabi Ascent, but as always, I am not required to write anything or even write on anything.

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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) one letter at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of EV Obsession, Gas2, Solar Love, Planetsave, or Bikocity; or as president of Important Media. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, energy storage, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media:, .

  • Janearthlover

    Yes, have hundreds of rich elitists now get on CO2 spewing airplanes to fly to yet another climate conference that caters only to the rich who think they are going to control the solutions to the polluting THEY made. It is getting harder and harder even for me , a passionate advocate of the Earth and climate solutions to not think this is all a plan by the rich to use this crisis to THEIR best advantage. Any conference that deems to alienate the poor who are feeling the brunt of this crisis being held in the richest city in the world in a petro – hydrocarbon state cannot be construed as anything but more elitist bunk.

    • Rich people have always been trying to get richer. Climate crisis or not, renewable energy or not, that will not change.

      Materialism and greed are at the root of not only the climate crisis but almost every other environmental or societal problem. My takeaway from your comment is that you want to fix that first before taking on the climate crisis. You know, attack the problem at its root. Take the bull by the horns.

      But the battle against inequality and selfishness has been going on for thousands of generations. In essence, is a fight against ourselves and therefore it is an eternal battle. So that would effectively mean that we would never come to solving the climate crisis, since we are not done yet with the neverending battle.

      Yes, the rich are in large part responsible for the climate crisis, but to state that it is the pollution THEY made, is ignoring each individual’s responsibility in this matter. And I consider every citizen of a western economy ‘rich’ so that makes us all here partly responsible.

      A more positive view might lead to the conclusion that, yes, the rich
      are a part of the problem but they want to be part of the solution too. They will spend their fortunes one way or the other. I’d rather see them take a plane to a climate conference than to a Pacific atol to go jet skiing.

    • JamesWimberley

      I second arne-nl. The world is not divided just into good guys (ARPA-E, Fell) and bad guys (Kochs, Ailes). The fate of the world depends on the decisions of the grey people in between, including us. Enlightened self-interest goes a long way. So can a guilty conscience; Robert Macnamara was a very good head of the World Bank.

  • JamesWimberley

    Have a nice trip. Just don’t leave your journalistic scepticism at home. Just why are the UAE oil sheiks paying for this jamboree? Could it be a guilty conscience, or fear? What influence has Tony Blair on anything? What does Jeffrey Sachs know about environmental economics? Do we need new ideas on the climate threat and the energy transition, or action this day? I rather hope Elon Musk and Miao Liansheng are not going. They have work to do.

    • Omega Centauri

      I have to confess, I roll my eyes at an mention os Masdar. Exoensive greenwashing PR for a fossil fuel kingdom is the way I see it. Host lots of meetings, and show lournalists that renewables can look cool, if you don’t care about price. I hope you will challenge them to start putting real money to actual development of such.

  • PatrickTOrtega

    And then there’s also the work it is doing at Masdar City and Masdar Institute. It’s a very bright spot in the midst of catastrophic fossil fuel use, in my humble opinion.

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