Posted on 28 January 2009
WWF has told an audience of energy experts and senior government officials from more than 20 countries that the world’s leading governments and businesses must lead the planet towards the benefits of renewable energy and a sustainable future.
Abu Dhabi, UAE
- WWF has told an audience of energy experts and senior government officials from more than 20 countries that the world’s leading governments and businesses must lead the planet towards the benefits of renewable energy and a sustainable future.
At the second World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi last week delegates were told that if everybody in the world consumed resources like the average person in a G8 country then another three planet Earths would be needed to sustain them.
Attending the summit were Professor Lord Nicholas Stern, author of the Stern Review on the Economics of Climate Change, and Dr Rajendra Pachauri, Chairman of the Nobel Peace-prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The closing speaker was former British Prime Minister Tony Blair.
“If we are to change the paradigm then governments with unsustainable ecological footprints must set verifiable targets for reducing their carbon, water and commodity footprints,” Eduardo Gonçalves, International Coordinator for WWF’s One Planet Living initiative, told the delegates.
“They must remove the regulatory barriers to those businesses investing in a sustainable future. They must promote civic awareness of the impending ecological credit crunch.
“Businesses must reform their practices and look at the products they bring to the market. They must lobby governments for a level playing field for sustainable corporate practice, and promote sustainable consumer behaviour.
“And consumers must look again at their own choices and tell governments and business leaders that they demand a new paradigm.”
He went on to outline the fact that globally we are now outspending our natural income – the renewable natural resources the planet produces and replenishes – by 30 per cent and that figure is growing so fast that in another 25 years we are going to need another planet to live on.
WWF’s One Planet Living programme represents a radical shift from wasteful and inefficient consumption and production to an understanding of the natural limits of our ecosystems and the services they provide.
Gonçalves also went on to praise the work of summit hosts United Arab Emirates in the field of sustainability.
At the summit Abu Dhabi alone announced the first firm commitments from an Opec member to produce 7 per cent of its energy from renewables. It has also plendged $15bn to developing its Masdar low carbon city initiative and the establishment of a solar power joint venture.
“The government has signed an agreement with WWF to work with us and our partners to research the country’s national ecological footprint – the flows of energy, consumption of resources, and production of waste,” said Gonçalves, “and to work with us in mapping out a sustainable future for the country and its citizens.
“It is an example that should be followed, particularly by governments in North America and the European Union. The G8 countries may account for only 13 per cent of the world's population but they represent one third of humanity's total ecological footprint.”
In his closing remarks former Prime Minister Blair urged world leaders not to allow the current financial crisis to get in the way of the fight against climate change. He called for a new global agreement setting tough interim targets up to 2020 to transform countries into low-carbon economies.
“It is right now, at the instant when our thoughts are centred on the economic challenge, that we must not set to one side the challenge of global warming, but instead resolve to meet it and put the world on the path to a sustainable future,” he said.
“It needs not just a 2050 target but an interim target to get there, for example a target for 2020 that shows seriousness of intent and gives business a clear, unequivocal signal to invest in a low-carbon future.”