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2nd World Future Energy Summit – Greenpeace Speech

 In his speech to the 2nd World Future Energy Conference in Abu Dhabi Pascal Husting of Greenpeace said that Greenpeace has  been relentless in campaigning against oil companies who defied the growing scientific evidence on climate change. But he also said that, “I want to make it clear to you today that Greenpeace is equally committed to working with all parties to realize a sustainable future. Masdar makes a compelling case for what is possible when visionary leadership, entrepreneurial spirit and financial resources come together.”

He also said, “Are climate change and energy services for all at the top of the political and economic priorities? The answer, of course, is no! Worldwide emissions are growing faster than ever. The energy chasm between rich and poor is growing. Energy security is decreasing. Overall, the current political and economic approaches to climate change and energy are still fundamentally and tragically wrong.”  Husting pointed to the problems that low temperatures had caused in France in January 2009, when there was a week of temperatures only 5 degrees Centigrade below average in early January. Several thousand MW of heavy fuel power had to be switched on at short notice to supplement the baseline nuclear fuelled power generation. Warnings of imminent power cuts were issued. He noted that, “CO2 emissions jumped massively. An estimated half a million households will be unable to pay their electricity bills. The reason for this is that France has a supply-side driven, highly centralized power generation system. This system is inflexible, it imposes the thermodynamic and social aberration of electric heating and it discourages energy efficiency.”  Husting concluded that, “if France, one of the wealthiest and technologically most sophisticated developed countries gets it so wrong, how can we be confident that the others, including the emerging, demographic heavyweights, will change to a different, sustainable path?”

On the subject of greenhouse gas emissions he was clear, “Let’s understand what the science tells us! In order to have a reasonable chance of escaping catastrophic climate change with global social and economic collapse in its wake, we have to keep future global warming below 2 degrees Centigrade. We know that this means reversing the global emissions’ curb by 2015. We know that we have to cut them by much more than 50% by 2050 and that, as a consequence, the industrialized world must decarbonize its economy by 2050. Let’s also accept that this is a colossal task and let us turn that awareness into action.”

Husting was also adamant that nuclear power was not part of the solution: “The climate crisis is upon us and we need action now. It must inconceivable that we turn to a technology that can’t deliver on time and, in the end, only diverts resources from the real solutions. And no one who is remotely serious about the 21st century climate and energy issues, can champion nuclear power, a technology that is collapsing in the global market-place because it is so grossly uncompetitive. It is so hopelessly uneconomic that one doesn’t even need to get into a debate about whether it is clean or safe, much as Greenpeace loves a discussion about this.”

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