Business | Economy

Job creation and health benefits to push renewable energy

Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference 2013 (ADIREC) conludes

  • By Binsal Abdul KaderStaff Reporter
  • Published: 17:55 January 17, 2013
  • Gulf News

  • Image Credit: WAM
  • The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change on Thursday hosted the first meeting of energy ministers from 32 Arab and South American countries, focused on joint deployment of low-carbon, sustainable energy technologies
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Abu Dhabi: Despite the absence of a binding agreement among world nations to deploy renewable energy, two immediate benefits — job creation and health benefits — will push its acceleration, according to the organisers of the Abu Dhabi International Renewable Energy Conference 2013 (ADIREC).

The policy of those opposing a binding agreement to arrest climate change is also helping the promotion of renewable energy, a top official told Gulf News on the sidelines of the announcement of the ADIREC declaration at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week.

The US and China are the major opponents to a binding agreement on climate change but they are heavily investing on renewable energy, said Mohammad Al Ashry, Senior Fellow at United Foundations, said.

This will automatically promote renewable energy without a binding agreement, he said. The immediate benefits such as thousands of jobs being created by renewable energy industry and reduction of diseases caused by air pollution [otherwise caused by fossil fuels] will also entice the world nation to go the renewable way, he said.

Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Masdar’s chief executive officer and UAE Special Envoy for Energy and Climate Change, said that in the past five years, despite global economic challenges, the renewable energy sector has continued its robust growth across both developing and developed countries, for instance, accounting for almost half of annual electric capacity additions in recent years. Moreover, global investments in renewables have grown by a factor of five to about US $250 billion annually, driving rapid cost reductions for many renewable energy technologies, in particular for solar power.

As the Ministers and Government Representatives participating in the, with the active engagement and support of business and civil society leaders, we acknowledge the many benefits provided by renewable energy, said the declaration. Its growing prominence in our energy portfolios, recognizing in particular its ability to enhance energy security and sustainable development; enable clean energy access and alleviate poverty, especially for communities and individuals with limited access to modern energy services; create economic and job opportunities; improve air and water quality; and mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Held this year as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the world’s largest annual sustainable energy event, ADIREC is the fifth IREC, building upon successful outcomes in Delhi in 2010 (DIREC), Washington in 2008 (WIREC), Beijing in 2005, and Bonn in 2004.

By early 2013, more than 120 countries, more than half of these being developing countries, had some type of target and/or promotional policy related to renewable energy, and 159 countries and the European Union had signed or ratified the statute of the International Renewable Energy Agency.

However, renewable energy’s share in the world’s primary energy supply remains limited and its adoption uneven. The world has tapped only a small amount of the vast supply of renewable energy resources, the declaration said.

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