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Climate change is the biggest factor in energy planning

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By Myrna M. Velasco

ABU DHABI, UAE – Policymakers and energy planners all over the world are being advised that the “most sweeping factor” in planning the future energy needs of every market is the menacing impact of climate change.

Even for oil-rich countries that have been supplying the world’s needs of the “black gold,” they noted that it is highly important to diversify energy mix and for them to even prepare for the inevitable scenario of the “last drop” of oil.

The more developed energy markets have set out cautionary prescriptions that if energy planners will not heed the warning of climate change, the world is at risk overshooting warming targets for planet earth – which consequentially will be perilous to humanity.

Jean-Bernard Levy, chairman and chief executive officer of Electricité de France, indicated that in energy planning and investments “the climate is one obvious issue,” as he called on global industry leaders to “commit to keep global warming to below 2 degrees that science and the Paris accord tell us we must.”

At the current path where many energy markets have been behaving, he cautioned that “this could lead to 3 degrees or maybe more,” hence, the ‘business-as-usual’ paradigm is no longer an option for the energy sector.

Via a pledge-and-review system, the Paris Agreement enjoined countries on their intended nationally determined contributions (INDCs) that could limit global warming to 2.0 degrees or at least reduce it 1.5 degrees. But with many countries still heavily dependent on high carbon-emitting fossil fuels, fears are lurking that the target may be missed.

As Levy stressed “obviously, we are all committed to do our utmost to achieve a 2.0-degree or less scenario, yet the challenge in front of us is enormous and requires significant changes in how we produce, transport, distribute and consume energy. But we should make no mistake, business-as-usual is not an option.”

For Saudi Aramco, which is the biggest oil producer of the world, it noted that in achieving a sustainable future, it will “require energy products to be much cleaner and delivered in a new and innovative manner.”

Saudi Aramco Chief Executive Officer Amin H. Nasser said their country in particular is “working on a range of technologies with benefits beyond the oil and gas industry – such as advanced integrated engine fuel systems that deliver greater efficiency and lower emissions,” while it is also aiming to be the world leader in carbon capture and storage (CCS), or that technology that will turn what is considered as waste product into a valuable resource.

Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, similarly asserted that for the UAE, “despite possessing one of the largest oil reserves in the world, it has prepared to deliver the last barrel of oil.”

He added “we have started out first steps and early preparations for the sustainability of our resources and to bid farewell to the last drop of oil,” emphasizing further that “today our nation leads global efforts in the clean and renewable energy sector through its strategies and investments.”

The energy investment and consumption cycles being propagated in the UAE, he said, include producing electricity from solar energy in buildings and connecting them to the grid, deployment of electric vehicles as well as other initiatives geared toward carbon footprint reductions and in re-positioning itself as a “green” economy.

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