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'Feedback loops' seen as key in green plan

By JAN YUMUL in Dubai, UAE | China Daily Global | Updated: 2023-12-05 09:38

People walk at Dubai's Expo City during the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, Dec 4, 2023. [Photo/Agencies]

The climate adaptation road map should include "feedback loops" of the people and communities' risks as they were "not being addressed fast enough", a forum heard on the sidelines of the United Nations climate meeting in Dubai on Monday.

In the panel discussion titled "Unlocking the Clean Energy Potential of Developing and Emerging Economies", sole speaker Angela Wilkinson, secretary-general and CEO at the World Energy Council, said the "big missing piece" in every technology road map was often people and communities as "the mindset for the last 50 years "had always been a "supply-centric mindset".

Wilkinson was speaking at the first session of the 3rd Saudi Green Initiative Forum, a daylong activity held at the Saudi Pavilion at COP28, focusing on multiple key themes, including innovating and scaling up clean energy solutions, the Red Sea's ecosystem, financing climate action, and protecting terrestrial and marine areas in the kingdom.

Wilkinson said it had always been about the "how", such as "how much supply of oil, or gas, or renewables", as well as "how much money have we got".

"We have to change our leadership mindset to user-centric and demand-driven solutions. We have to ask people what is their vision of the future they're trying to achieve. Energy isn't for the energy industry. It's for all of us," said Wilkinson.

"It's for the coexistence of a peaceful society. I encourage people to start by asking what are their energy needs … and let's engage demand. Let's bring more people and users and diverse communities into the conversation," she added.

Wilkinson said even "if we manage to get to net zero by mid-century", the world was still going to have to deal "with the chickens of climate change that are coming home to roost".

"We have to enable an energy system that delivers clean, reliable, and affordable energy under climate change conditions and under social risks conditions. And these physical climate risks and social risks are important feedback loops that are not built yet into the road maps that are coming out of many countries," said Wilkinson.

The only way to get to managing this global challenge, she said, was "to do it together", but also to recognize that "there is no one size that fits all" and that there are multiple pathways emerging.

She said one of the challenges the world was having is that "we're used to making sense when we have universal initiatives that are exported from one part of the world to another".

In his recorded opening remarks via video, Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's energy minister, said the country was continuing with its energy efficiency program, where energy efficiency policies and initiatives in building industrial and transport sectors contributed to a growth in energy savings of about 16 percent in 2021 and 2022.

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