Published on May 3rd, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan8
Abu Dhabi Ascent
May 3rd, 2014 by Zachary Shahan
I’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:
- energy efficiency
- land use and forests
- renewable energy
- short-lived climate pollutants
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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