From: The Guardian
Published January 20, 2009 09:18 AM

World leaders meet to discuss renewable energy

I'll get my excuses in first and then move on to Kaka later. I have increased my carbon footprint by flying to the low-carb World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi concluding it was not realistic to meet 10,000-plus delegates and visitors via video-link from Blighty.

A conference exploring alternative power and clean technology developments like this one is usually most valuable for what people say privately rather the public spiel from the platform.

And it is a great chance to take the temperature of solar, wind and other industries that offer the best chance of tackling climate change and dwindling oil reserves. This Gulf get-together could not come at a better time, since the renewables sector is desperately hoping that the Barack Obama inauguration on Tuesday will kickstart a global green revolutionhampered by George Bush.


But the summit also comes at a time when the credit crunch and looming world recession has been clobbering green energy company shares and distracting the political establishment.

Here in the Gulf is an unusual array of environment ministers, financiers, and entrepreneurs – but also the big oil companies who are keeping a close eye on those who would like to give the last rights to carbon.

BP, Shell and Exxon are also here to trumpet their solutions to global warming. I will be wanting to know from Vivienne Cox, head of renewables at BP, how she justifies putting all her (meagre in group terms) cash into US wind instead of British turbine projects, for instance.

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