“Welcome to Masdar City,” Sheikh Mohammed starts. “Today, the world is facing serious challenges, finding scalable sources of clean energy, providing fresh water and battling climate change. In the spirit of global collaboration, it is a pleasure to welcome you all to discuss ways to find an effective international response.” He pauses for a moment and looks into the audience.
“The United Arab Emirates have made a long-term commitment to invest in renewable energy and sustainable technologies. The UAE is giving a high priority to sustainable development as a key driver in improving the lives of future generations.”
“Masdar City will become a modern Arabian city that, like its forerunners, is in tune with its surroundings. As such, it is a model for sustainable urban development that delivers the highest quality living and working environment with the lowest possible ecological footprint. Masdar City, masdar meaning source in Arabic, aims to become a source of knowledge for renewable energy and sustainable development.”
I take out my iPad, open the Twitter app and start typing a post: “We’re in Abu Dhabi at the World Future Energy Summit, listening to the opening speech of the Crown Prince. Why is the UAE a frontrunner in renewable energy?”
“Why is the UAE committed to invest in renewable energy?” Sheikh Mohammed says, as if he can read my mind. “Abu Dhabi is home to 8% of global crude oil reserves, the Emirate has enough hydrocarbon reserves at current production levels to last another 100 years. So why are we investing billions of dollars to develop Masdar and establish Abu Dhabi as a global centre of excellence in renewable energy and clean technologies?”
I tweet again, knowing my followers around the world will re-tweet my posts. “The answer will be given by Sheikh Mohammed himself in 1 minute. Stay posted!”
“First of all, here in the UAE, we have a heritage tied to life in the harsh and unforgiving desert, where sustainable practices and resource conservation are not just slogans, but are essential to survival. That’s why we understand the tremendous challenges posed by climate change, environmental degradation and the need to find sustainable energy sources.” Sheikh Mohammed pauses and takes a sip of water before continuing.
“Secondly, Abu Dhabi has traditionally played a leading role in global energy markets as a significant hydrocarbon producer. Now Abu Dhabi aspires to be an international hub for renewable energy and sustainable technologies, thereby balancing its already strong position.
“And last but not least, Abu Dhabi has embarked on a two-decade programme called vision 2030 to transform its economy from one based on natural resources to one based on knowledge, innovation and the export of cutting- edge technologies.
“Thank you for your attention,” Sheikh Mohammed says. “If you have further questions, I will be available after the first part of the programme.”
I open my Twitter app again: “Abu Dhabi is transforming its economy from exporting oil and gas to exporting knowledge. AND we have the possibility to speak to Sheikh Mohammed later today. A great opportunity to look into the future!”10 February,2013