The Abu Dhabi Ascent* opening ceremony was a powerful one, with the clear highlight being Al Gore’s powerful presentation. One key focus that was a thread throughout was that we are really running out of time. We have about 10 to 15 years left before things are essentially out of control, a couple of speakers noted.
Another key focus was that Abu Dhabi Ascent is about moving forward on practical solutions, not simply talk. The UN event is running parallel to negotiations regarding a global climate agreement. It is not simply more preparation for such an agreement but is about advancing climate solutions “from the ground up.”
Abu Dhabi Ascent is about developing a strong bottom-up approach that will prepare us for a strong top-down event in Paris, Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, noted.
Jaber, who led the way into the opening presentations, emphasized that we are running out of time to combat climate change, but that we have the technologies we need in order to solve it. We have about 15 years left to really make the change that we need, he said.
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, pictured above, said: “This will be a solutions summit,” not a “talk summit.” We need action now. With disappointingly unsuccessful negotiations around a global climate agreement, the UN is taking this approach in order to make practical progress in other ways while still working towards that global agreement.
“We are rapidly approaching dangerous thresholds,” Ban Ki-moon stated, and you could tell that he felt it.
John Ashe followed Ban Ki-moon, and was critical of the fact that for far too long we have simply been talking. “We need action now, and it should start today.”
He also argued that progress within each country would help make COP21 in Paris more successful than previous COP meetings. “We have to make Paris meaningful.”
Then came Al Gore….
*My trip to Abu Dhabi Ascent is being covered by Masdar.
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