Abu Dhabi: When you switch off a lamp or an electric gadget when not needed, it is not merely minimising your own expense, but helps the nation implement more welfare measures for its people, including building more schools and hospitals.

Abu Dhabi Government spent Dh4 billion on subsidies on oil that used for energy generation last year, a senior official said here yesterday.

If energy consumption is minimised, the oil used for power generation can be exported and its revenue can be used for constructing schools etc, said Robert Bradley, Senior Policy Advisor — Climate Change, Directorate of Energy and Climate Change at the UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

He was speaking at a discussion meeting in the capital.

Oil constitutes just three per cent of total fuel used for power generation in Abu Dhabi, which is a very small amount used for this purpose, compared with the trend in other oil producing countries, he told Gulf News on the side-lines of the meeting.

“Still the UAE wants to minimise the use of oil in power generation by saving energy consumption,” Bradley said.

He said a significant portion of Abu Dhabi’s annual expenditure is going to ADWEA (Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority) as subsidies on electricity and water, which could be minimised by energy saving.

Experts including him shared their thoughts on “Climate Change and Financing the Green Economy” at the discussion meeting organised by the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group (ADSG) at Etihad Airways headquarters in Abu Dhabi.

Ivan Lanelli, CEO of Dubai Carbon Centre Excellence, highlighted the relevance of public-private-partnerships in implementing CDM (Clean Development Mechanism) that aims reducing carbon emissions.

Diana Guzman, Director (Southern Europe), Carbon Disclosure Project, a non-profit business organisation, talked about her organisation’s work with businesses on disclosure of their carbon emissions.

Steve Graham of Dubai based Capital Alternatives Group talked about need of new strategies for sustainable development.

It was ADSG’s sixth Hiwar Session (the Arabic word for dialogue), a public event, which aimed to shed light on current economic, social and environmental issues and its implications for sustainability in Abu Dhabi.

The session aimed to develop a common understanding about how carbon related policies are supported by adequate financing and are able to impact key sustainability goals. It focused on improving the understanding of the challenges and opportunities that the trends towards a Green Economy offer Abu Dhabi and the region.

People from ADSG member organisations, Government entities, private sector and the not-for-profit community attended the meeting.

Ahead of the meeting a senior official said the UAE Government has been actively engaging in climate change discussions and developing a national green growth strategy to promote investments in clean energy.

“We always support further discussions with key players — investors, policy makers, technology providers, innovators and civil society — on these important sustainability issues,” said Dr. Thani Al Zeyoudi, Director of Energy and Climate Change Department in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Huda Al Houqani, ADSG Director said promoting best practice and engaging with experts both local and international for the benefit of progress and knowledge sharing is at the heart of the ADSG’s strategic goals.