U.N. meets to chart future of energy

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, seen here speaking in Oslo in Oct. 2011, is set to declare the Year of Renewable Energy for All.

Jeremy Hobson: Now to Abu Dhabi, where the U.N. Secretary General said today he wants the world to double its share of renewable energy by the year 2030. World leaders are gathered in Abu Dhabi for the World Future Energy Summit.

From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, Eve Troeh reports.

Eve Troeh: So a summit on renewable energy in a desert kingdom funded by oil? Well, it's not a total stretch, says Shayle Kahn. He's director of solar at GTM Research.

Shayle Kahn: You would want to be having a conversation about the future of energy smack dab in the center of the energy world.

That energy world, in total, is mostly fossil fuels -- you won't see any deals inked in Abu Dhabi to change that. But United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon wants to help the poorest nations avoid using more coal and oil.

Severin Borenstein: The goal of leapfrogging fossil fuels and going straight to renewables is admirable, and I hope that we're gonna get there.

Severin Borenstein heads the Energy Institute at Berkeley's Haas School of Business.

Borenstein: But rolling out the current technology is really much more expensive still, in most locations, than burning fossil fuels.

He says the developing nations' main goals are to grow their economies and reduce poverty. And as long as fossil fuel is cheaper, they'll use it.

I'm Eve Troeh for Marketplace.

About the author

Eve Troeh is News Director at WWNO-FM in New Orleans, La., helping build the first public radio news department in the station’s 40-year history. She reported for the Marketplace Sustainability Desk from 2010 to 2013.


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