In addition to the videos I recorded of Connie Hedegaard’s keynote speech at the start of the World Future Energy Summit (part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, hosted by Masdar), I also got to sit down with her after her speech, ask her a few questions, and videotape it all. My initial question (not included in the video) was about the EU’s 2020 CO2 emissions reduction target — in particular, whether or not the push for an increase in the target from 20% to 30% might soon meet success; if it seemed that it might be possible to soon convince some of the blocking countries (most notably Poland) to get on the bandwagon. As mentioned in the video, studies have shown that Poland would actually experience a net economic benefit from an increased target. Here’s the video:
All of Connie’s points were excellent. She’s one of the best around. But some of my favorite points she made in this interview were:
- There are a ton of different ways to make climate action progress; if we run into difficulty with one, that doesn’t mean we can’t change the way we’re addressing the problem and still make significant progress.
- We need to make it very clear to people that there are huge costs to “doing nothing,” or business as usual. She made this point very well in her speech, as you’ll soon see. In short, we need to really draw people’s attention to the cost of superstorms like Sandy, flooding that makes billions of people evacuate their homes and causes trillions of dollars in property and economic damage, droughts and heat waves that destroy crops and drive up the price of food, dwindling water supplies in the midst of a growing global population, and more.
- We also need to think and discuss in a more integrated, holistic way. With regards to climate change and clean energy, we need to also focus on the tremendous economic benefits and job growth that comes with a clean energy revolution, the tremendous health benefits, and the tremendous quality of life benefits in general.
Those were the key points I got from the interview. And simply that Connie totally rocks! More to add?
For more content from Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, check out our archive pages for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, for the World Future Energy Summit, and/or for the International Renewable Energy Conference.
Full Disclosure: my trip to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was funded by Masdar. That said, I was completely free to cover what I wanted throughout the week, and at no point did I feel under pressure to cover any specific events or Masdar in any particular way.