Carbon Pricing

Published on May 7th, 2014 | by Zachary Shahan


Abu Dhabi Ascent Opening: Time Is Running Out

May 7th, 2014 by  

Ban Ki Moon

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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About the Author

is tryin' to help society help itself (and other species) with the power of the typed word. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director and chief editor, but he's also the president of Important Media and the director/founder of EV Obsession, Solar Love, and Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and energy storage expert. Zach has long-term investments in TSLA, FSLR, SPWR, SEDG, & ABB — after years of covering solar and EVs, he simply has a lot of faith in these particular companies and feels like they are good cleantech companies to invest in.

  • Michael Berndtson

    Man, this is messed up. From the best and pretty much only energy data clearinghouse readily available:

    Worldwide 2011 carbon dioxide emissions in million metric tons and (raw material production growth rate over 5 years from 2008 to 2012:

    Coal: 14,416 MMT CO2 emissions from uses, (14% raw material growth over 5yr)
    Oil: 11,407 MMT, (6%)
    Natural Gas: 6,754 MMT, (10%)

    There’s no way substituting one fossil fuel for another is going to gain us much, i.e. natural gas for coal or natural gas for oil – unless there’s major efficiency improvements in just about everything involving fossil fuel combustion. It’s got to be a big non carbon solution and energy efficiency and energy use reduction.

    So to have this climate change discussion in a region that produces the lion’s share of oil and gas is interesting.

    Go ahead Calamity Jean, I dare you to find the error! I was right by the way on how insignificant coal for heating is. It’s about 3 percent. Mostly coal is used for steam generation (i.e. electric) and steel manufacturing. The comments were shutdown so I couldn’t reply.

    • I wanted to ask Ban Ki-moon & Al Jaber what they thought of stranded assets and the carbon bubble, but I put my hand up a bit too late in the packed press conference…

      • Michael Berndtson

        I’ve been ferreting through the EIA data for carbon dioxide. I think it’s low. Especially for CO2 generated from natural gas. My gut says that it’s best to take the production data, which is usually the most accurate, and assume a combustion to CO2. Not necessarily consumption data. It’s hard to figure out how EIA did it’s calcs for carbon dioxide. Pretty cool data set, nonetheless.

    • Banned by Bob

      You’ll note that Mr. Gore won’t give this speech in either China or India where the bulk of the emissions increases are occurring.

      Europe shutting down nukes and substituting coal and Russian gas doesn’t help either.

      • JamesWimberley

        German coal consumption has started to fall, and the country is mothballing gas generators. The natural gas boom is purely made-in-America.

        Your slur on Al Gore is an idle smear. Do you have any evidence to think he would not make a speech in India or China if invited?

        BTW, if you were paying any attention to this blog, you would know that China is changing course on coal, and building out renewables, at a pace and scale unmatched in history. India is less decisive, but a similar switch to wind and solar on a multi-GW scale has started there too.

        • Banned by Bob

          Maybe Mr. Gore will prove me wrong and take his message to Beijing. Want to make it interesting?

          Just because China is slowing down its pace of growth of coal consumption doesn’t mean it won’t keep growing for some time. Remember that China burns half of the world’s coal. That’s where the issue is.

          Just because they are installing a lot of a Renewables doesn’t make their coal issue go away.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Al doesn’t need to take his message to China. China’s leaders understand climate change, understand why it’s happening, understand the risk to their country, and understand what needs to be done.

          • Banned by Bob

            I agree. They are focused on continuing to grow their economy and they will get around to reducing overall emissions in ten years or so. So if they are sanguine about putting off emissions reductions, not much we can do about that.

            Meanwhile, they need to clean up the air around their cities for political reasons.

            And they need to reduce their reliance on imported fuels, as these long distance supply lines are their strategic Achilles Heel. So Renewables play a major role primarily for that reason, and the environmental benefits are a freebie.

          • Bob_Wallace

            China has announced a cap on coal consumption beginning in 2017 and the intention to roll the limit back to 2011 levels.

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