NEREC: Opening Speech
Excellencies, ladies and gentlemen.
It is a great pleasure for me to speak at the opening of the third NEREC conference, focusing on finding practical solutions to one of our biggest challenges.
Awareness of climate change continues to grow. Consensus around the need for action has solidified, and the prospects for global action on climate change continues to progress.
The challenges are enormous. The International Energy Agency predicts that global energy demand will rise by 50 per cent over the next 25 years. More than two-thirds of the increase will take place in developing countries.
Most of the increase in energy production will be based on fossil fuels, (and here it comes) which will greatly increase carbon dioxide emissions.
We are gathered here to make sure that that prediction is way too pessimistic.
Fortunately, there are several ways of reducing the negative impact of energy use on the environment.
One of the most important ways is to increase the use of renewable sources of energy. Today, these only account for a very limited share of the global energy supply.
Potential renewable energy is in abundance. The sources can be found literally anywhere around us – and not always where we expect it. Green energy can be produced from salt, algae, animal feces or household waste, to name a few.
It is not difficult to find and use renewable energy sources on a micro level. But how can we, as society, enable ourselves to realize the global potential?
That is what an impressive panel of experts and professionals from more than 20 countries will be discussing the coming two days here at NEREC.
We need a concerted research and development effort by the international community to achieve greater diversification of energy sources. Biomass, wind, solar power and hydrogen are all important here.
Green energy technologies are undergoing a rapid improvement both in performance and in the costs of production. One of the most heartening developments over the last few months has been the transformation of green energy from a pure environmental interest to an economic and national security interest. Previously, solar panels and wind turbines were viewed only as tools to fight climate change. Now, however, they are to a larger extent viewed as tools for job growth and economic recovery. I sincerely believe that growth in green energy and clean technology will increase dramatically in the years to come.
The dangers of a fossil fuel-driven world are enormous; climate change and other environmental hazards are real and growing threats to our survival. At the same time, the collective awareness of these problems and our drive to tackle them is increasing around the world.
The primary solutions to the problems, renewable energy sources and efficiency technologies, are becoming more effective, more scalable, and less expensive by the day. The time for the green energy revolution is now. The current recession may slow down its progress, but forward movement is inevitable.
You who are gathered here at NEREC have the knowledge, the power and the resources to make the green energy revolution happen.
I hereby declare NEREC 2010 open, and I wish you luck in your important work in the days to come.
Thank you for your attention.