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Doha Time & Temperature

Energy independence is a myth, says official
3/11/2008 2:16:29
Source ::: The Peninsula
From left: Mel Levine, Gray Davis, Cornelia Meyer, Baroness Amos, Manish Tiwari and Ravi Shankar Prasad during a panel session at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel yesterday. (Shaival Dalal)
doha • Energy security and energy independence are simply jargon unless producer and consumer nations come together in a spirit of cooperation.

Panelists at a plenary session of the ‘Enriching the Middle East’s Economic Future Conference’ at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel concluded that the world should work together to seek out alternative energy sources while still keeping in mind fossil fuels “have driven the global economy and will continue to do so for many years to come”.

Moderator Mel Levine of Gibson, Dunn and Crutcher, said: “With oil prices as high as they are now, they are impacting the US and the West in a different way. The price of oil is now forcing the private sector to make choices they didn’t have to before.”

Cornelia Meyer, Vice-President for Development with Kimberly Clark, said: “There is no such thing as energy independence. Energy independence is a myth.” But much can be done to bring about energy efficiency, particularly in the case of buildings. Meyer said buildings consume a huge amount of energy. “They need to be more energy-efficient,” she said.

Gray Davis, former California Governor, said: “The question is not whether they can be energy independent but less dependent. With research, maybe we can bring down our dependence on fossil fuels by 10 percent, but that is a best-case scenario.” He said it was “imperative” countries work together in developing alternatives which will work. “We should not wait until 2030 for this process,” said Davis.

Another panelist, Baroness Amos, former leader of Britain’s House of Lords and Lord President of the Council, said politicians should step forward and be brave and explain what is happening. She spoke on the haves and have-nots and sustainable development, particularly for countries with energy wealth.

Manish Tiwari, Spokesman for India’s Congress Party, said: “Russia may have lost the Cold War but it is not ready to lose the energy sweepstakes. India believes that energy security has attributes that distinguish it from other aspects of energy security.”

Tiwari pointed out energy interest is often interpreted in the language of competition and conflict. “All countries should cooperate with each other,” he said. Ravi Shankar Prasad, Spokesman for India’s Bharatiya Janata Party and a former minister, said the ultimate approach must be cooperative.

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