Amid some of the worst flooding seen in the Middle East in decades and increasingly dire reports about climate change, Masdar will host the sixth annual World Future Energy Summit (WFES) in Abu Dhabi next week. We’ll be joining 30,000 other delegates at Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, which includes the International Water Summit (IWS) from January 13-17th.
Our goal is to tap into the minds of public and private stakeholders who face a temperature rise of at least three degrees celsius by 2050, energy and water shortages coupled with soaring demand, and destabilization caused by climate change. The 6th WFES may be the most important yet.
Masdar has established itself as a leader in sustainability from the start.
Although the zero carbon, zero waste Masdar City initiative has changed shape since the Abu Dhabi government owned Mubadala Development Company subsidiary’s launch in 2006, Masdar has since branched out in so many different directions – all aimed to drive a knowledge-based economy.
And the organization’s focus, albeit local, is also globally informed.
Late last year we reported that CEO Sultan Ahmed al-Jaber announced that in addition to its home solar projects, such as the 100 megawatt Shams 1 plant that will displace 175,000 tons of CO2 per year – enough to power 20,000 homes, Masdar is considering solar investments in other parts of the region, including Saudi Arabia.
A host of groundbreaking studies are being conducted at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST); last August, two scientific articles published by MIST researchers were among the most frequently downloaded on the prominent journal ScienceDirect.
But as Bill McKibben and other leading scientists frequently point out, the stakes are higher than ever.
Last year was the hottest year on record in the United States, where statisticians work overtime to crunch numbers. We have fewer data specialists in the MENA region, but we do know that ours is to be among the hardest by climate change.
We are already seeing aquifers drying up in Yemen and Saudi Arabia. Jordanians are stomping on each other at bakeries in Amman in advance of a snowstorm, thousands of people are without electricity despite this fierce winter, and most nations are ill-equipped to finance the resulting fallout.
Gulf Cooperation Council countries are lending support – most recently to Jordan in the form of a sizeable grant designed to boost the Kingdom’s wind and solar sector. But money can’t stop mother nature from lashing out.
So the question remains: what are our leaders doing to prepare for the coming years and decades? Masdar has marshalled That’s what we intend to find out. Won’t you join us?
Image of solar collectors via Masdar’s Facebook page