'Gulf region sits on gold mine of untapped solar energy '

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The Gulf region has been blessed with an energy surplus for perpetuity due to its abundance of solar energy, the most technically viable source of renewable energy at present, Dr Rajendra Pachauri, chairperson of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change (IPCC) said addressing the World Future Energy Summit recently.

“Solar energy is in fact so abundant in the region that regional governments and innovators are in a unique position to develop workable and cost effective technologies for deploying it. These kinds of renewable energy sources are needed to re-orient energy supplies so that the increase in the global average temperature can be limited to below two degrees Celsius, which in turn is necessary to prevent the truly serious negative effects of climate change,” Dr Pachauri said.

“Currently, the world is on a trajectory of global greenhouse gas emissions that would result in a global average temperature increase of more than 3.5 degrees Celsius,” he added.

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According to the IPCC chief, the reality of climate change brought about by greenhouse gas emissions is often less accepted in developed countries than among those who lack access to sustainable and cost-effective energy sources.

“In the short term, we need to create even greater awareness about these issues. If people are aware of the risks, they would accept the real cost of using fossil fuels and even be willing to pay the higher prices for these fuels if a price is created for carbon,” he said.

“Such a price is one of the most effective measures of reducing emissions.”

Explaining the gravity of climate change, Dr Pachauri said since 1980, billions of dollars have been lost annually due to weather and climate-related diseases.

“The highest loss was recorded in 2005 at around $200 billion when Hurricane Katrina occurred. But these estimates of losses don’t even account for the loss of human life, ecosystems and cultural heritage — so the real costs of climate change are actually much higher,” he said.

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