Feb 27 2012
(MENAFN – Arab News) The year 2012 was declared as the international year of sustainable energy for all by delegates at the Third G20 Speakers’ Consultation Meeting, which concluded in Riyadh on Sunday.
Speaking to reporters after the closing session, Shoura Chairman Abdullah Al-Asheikh said the declaration was aimed at finding energy sources that should be environmentally friendly and available to all. There should be a drive to develop clean technologies for the realization of sustainable development, he added.
The declaration came as a direct international response to an initiative by Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to increase aid for national, regional and international institutions that deal with energy projects.
During the session on Sunday, Shoura member Majid Abdullah Al-Moneef said energy has been an important factor in global economic growth and prosperity for decades. Throughout history energy was an essential input in accelerating industrial production, facilitating mobility, promoting urbanization, and improving the standards of living for the world’s population, he added.
“Despite the relative success of reducing the share of oil in global consumption (especially in the OECD) in the past three decades, oil and gas still account for 60 percent of global energy consumption and are projected to continue to play such a role in energy at least for the next three decades. And despite some relative degrees of success in diversifying their economies, oil still accounts for a considerable share of GDP and its growth potential in most oil producing countries.”
Although there still lie many economic, environmental, technological, and policy uncertainties, Al-Moneef said the above outlook poses many global challenges.
They include channeling investment to diversify energy sources and ensure adequate supplies, reconciliation between energy, economy and the global environment, to reduce energy markets volatility that has impacted investment, energy and economic policies and programs in producing and consuming regions and consequently world economic prospects, and to tackle energy poverty.
It is estimated that some 3 billion of the world’s population lack access to modern energy and some 1.3 billion (mainly in sub-Saharan Africa and parts of Asia) do not have access to electricity. The final challenge, he said, is to determine the future role of technology for sustainable energy and development.
“Saudi Arabia is committed to confront, along with the international community, these global challenges to energy sustainability and economic progress, either through its investments in the hydrocarbons sector or promotion of clean oil and gas technologies, or joining international efforts to reduce energy markets volatility,” he said.
At the same time, the country recognizes that its ultimate development goal is to reduce its economy’s dependence on hydrocarbon resources, he added.
During the third session on Saturday, Othmar Karas, vice president of the European Parliament, partially blamed the “incomplete monetary union” created by the European Union for the crisis some member states are currently going through.
Karas explained: “While we established strong policies, we also left loopholes, which made it possible for member states to apply very different financial and economic policies – some that were inappropriate and that triggered our current crisis.”
Moving on to solutions, he stressed that there was no alternative to “deepening our union.”
Han Qide, vice chairman of the standing committee at China’s National People’s Congress, joined Karas in urging further cooperation as a way to tackling the crisis and promoting growth.