Speaker Events - Thursday, September 27, 2012
Science Fiction Becomes Fact in Abu Dhabi
“Oil and gas alone will not be the sources of energy that will meet our global energy requirements moving forward,” said Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber on September 27, 2012. “In my view, renewable energy is a platform that will ensure prosperity and peace in the future.”
Dr. Al Jaber, who is the UAE Special Envoy for Energy & Climate Change and the CEO of Masdar, spoke at an IPI event entitled “Clean and Green: Renewable Energy, Security, and Development.”
At the heart of Dr. Al Jaber’s work is Masdar City, a planned city in Abu Dhabi powered entirely by renewable energy. “All of our power is clean… we practice what we preach from day one,” he explained.
Masdar City features innovations such as driver-less, electric powered public transportation vehicles that, for example, bring students, researchers, and faculty from a parking lot to their destinations. “You won’t find it anywhere else at this scale,” said Dr. Al Jaber.
He added, “That’s why I refer to Masdar City as the living laboratory… Technologies are being piloted, deployed, demonstrated, and commercialized.” According to Dr. Al Jaber, the problem is not a lack of existing green technologies, but the fragmentation of those technologies, which are often deployed separately, in silos, and not in integrated ways.
“We know that oil and gas will continue to play an important role, yet we know that oil and gas resources are depleting. We know that renewable energy today is not as mature as we want it to be, yet it’s mature enough, given that we take what we have today and put a roadmap of how we want to scale it up and mature it to a point where it can seriously complement and supplement conventional sources of power,” he said.
Dr. Al Jaber also described the UAE’s strategic plan for energy, as part of its politics and economy. He said, “The UAE today possesses the fifth largest oil reserve in the world, with 98 billion barrels of reserves, and the seventh largest gas reserves, with around 213 trillion feet of gas reserves.” In terms of sustainable energy, he added, Masdar itself owns 12 percent of the world’s solar shares.
Dr. Al Jaber explained that energy is very much linked to security and peace; in history, security comes with meeting global requirements. He said, “Energy is the spinal cord of any economy in the world.”
Dr. Al Jaber argued that the best way to push forward renewable energy is to embrace cheap prices of conventional sources, such as oil and gas, and combine it with more expensive sustainable energy resources so that the average unit of energy stays affordable. This strategy, he said, affords sustainable energy technologies to evolve.
Dr. Al Jaber commended the steps UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon took on sustainable energy to bridge public and private efforts. He said, “This past January in Abu Dhabi, [Ban Ki-moon] launched the Sustainable Energy for All initiative, which has been a great success for all the participants in terms of what frameworks came out of it.”
When asked about the energy challenges facing the US, Dr. Al Jaber pointed out that the US already has the ecosystem, institutions, and frameworks in place to advance sustainable resources. “It’s just a matter of good will, real commitment, dedication, and focus,” he said.
Dr. Al Jaber also expressed interest in the potential for sustainable energy industries in Africa. He said, given the right regulatory framework and policy, “I don’t see why any investor wouldn’t invest in Africa; we would, as Masdar.”
In his closing statements, IPI President Terje Rød-Larsen applauded Dr. Al Jaber’s innovative instincts and vision for the future. “There is a saying, Seeing is Believing,” he said. “I’ve actually been [to Masdar City], and it is science fiction become fact.”
Watch event video:
The Global Observatory
Does Xi Jinping's Visit to India Signal a Shift in Sino-Indian Relations? Q&A with Hardeep Singh Puri
With Chinese President Jinping's first visit to India underway, the former Indian Permanent Representative to the UN discusses the future of Sino-Indian relations.
Key Global Events to Watch in September
A list of key upcoming meetings and events with implications for global affairs.
2014 Top 10 Issues to Watch in Peace & Security: The Global Arena
A list of ten key issues to watch that are likely to impact international peace and security in 2014, compiled by IPI's Francesco Mancini.
The Global Observatory, produced by IPI, provides timely analysis on peace and security issues, interviews with leading policymakers, interactive maps, and more.
September 10, 2014
Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future: The Middle East After 1914
On September 10-11, 2014, the International Peace Institute launched its inaugural meeting at its Middle East Regional Office in Manama, Bahrain titled “Lessons from the Past, Visions for the Future: The Middle East After 1914.”
September 09, 2014
Threats and Opportunities for Energy Sector in West Africa
West African development depends on energy, and that energy depends on stability—this was one of the sentiments repeated during a September 9th expert roundtable held in Paris on the theme of energy and security in West Africa.
September 09, 2014
Preventing Mass Atrocities: Why We Fail, and What Can be Done About It
In the twenty years since the Rwandan genocide, the United Nations system has developed a considerable body of policies, principles, and practices dedicated to the goal of preventing future atrocities.
September 17, 2014
Video: Strengthening Democratic Governance in Africa
September 15, 2014
Video: Engaging Young People on Democracy