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Climate Conference in Abu Dabhi

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  • Richard Risemberg
    Prince saves his energy in dramatic appearance at climate conference http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2008/jan/22/environment John Vidal in Abu Dhabi
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 21, 2008
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      Prince saves his energy in dramatic appearance at climate conference

      John Vidal in Abu Dhabi
      Tuesday January 22 2008
      The Guardian

      In the many years in which the Prince of Wales has attended official
      functions he has never appeared quite like this. At the alternative
      energy conference in Abu Dhabi he was not exactly there in the flesh.
      There was no video link either.

      Instead, delegates were treated to a full-size, walking, talking,
      fiddling hologram of his royal highness, who made a brief speech then
      vanished back into thin air.

      His appearance was the talk of the 2,500 delegates at the World
      Future energy summit, most of whom had flown thousands of miles to
      discuss renewable energy and climate change and how to save emissions.

      The very sight of Prince Charles caused many to gasp, and they were
      also surprised by his reference to a common "creator" figure.
      "Scientists are now saying that the problem of climate change is now
      so grave and so urgent that we have less than 10 years to slow, stop
      and reverse greenhouse gas emissions. Common actions are needed in
      every country to protect the common inheritance that has been given
      to us by our creator..." said the prince.

      He welcomed an announcement by Abu Dhabi of an investment of $15bn
      (£7.7bn) of new money immediately, and far more later, into
      alternative energy projects including wind, solar, and carbon capture
      technologies. The money will be channelled through the new Masdar
      initiative, which expects to raise more than $200bn for renewables in
      the next decade.

      Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, said
      the small emirate, which controls 10% of the world's oil reserves,
      intended to become the world's leading funder and researcher of
      renewable energy. "The evidence is now overwhelming that our
      responsibility must be balanced by a duty to find new sources of
      energy and protect the world..." said the prince. He said Abu Dhabi
      would join the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in the US to set
      up an alternative energy university and would build the world's
      largest solar power station.

      The US secretary of energy, Samuel Bodman, said that more than $22
      trillion of new investment was needed to meet extra global demand for
      energy within 22 years. "We cannot depend on hydrocarbons [such as
      oil and gas]. The world needs safe, reliable, clean affordable energy
      in considerably greater numbers than it now has. We require massive
      global investments..." he said. He acknowledged that the recent US
      switch to home-grown biofuels, made mostly from maize, was leading to
      the escalation of food prices around the world. "It is a matter of
      concern, but it is not devastating..." he said.

      Jonathon Porritt, the UK government's adviser on sustainable
      development, admonished the UN and energy companies for insisting
      that oil and gas could be part of the energy mix for a century.
      "Renewables are the only solution. The International Energy Agency's
      projections [that oil and gas can be used for a century] are biased
      and inadequate. The challenge we face demands the complete
      transformation of economies. People do not understand the scale and
      speed of what is going to have to happen," he said.

      Vivienne Cox, chief executive of BP alternative energy, said there
      was a "growing momentum" for change. "Renewables are growing very
      fast. Wind grew 30% last year, biofuel 20% and photovoltaics by 40%.
      Now is the time to build a sustainable energy industry alongside
      traditional oil and gas."

      Graeme Sweeney, of Shell International, said conventional supplies of
      energy could not keep up with rapidly increasing global demand for
      oil and gas. He called on governments and companies to make
      renewables cheap and to reduce energy demand urgently.

      Copyright Guardian Newspapers Limited 2008

      Richard Risemberg

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