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Teresa Ribera, Secretary of State for Climate Change, closes the Energy and Climate Change School organized by the Focus-Abengoa Foundation

April 15, 2010

  • Over the course of four days, UIMP students and international experts have analysed the main environmental policy measures adopted in the fight against climate change.
  • This edition was directed by Cristina Narbona, Spain's permanent representative to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Seville, 15 April 2010. Teresa Ribera, Secretary of State for Climate Change, chaired the closing session of the Energy and Climate Change School this afternoon, accompanied by Anabel Morillo León, Director General of the Focus-Abengoa Foundation; José Domínguez Abascal, General Technical Secretary of Abengoa; Antonio Miguel Bernal Rodríguez, President of the Academic Council of UIMP-Seville; Patrocinio Rodríguez Ramos, Director of UIMP in Seville; and Cristina Narbona, Spain’s permanent representative to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

The course The new economic reality: the emissions market, held in the Hospital de los Venerables in Seville, brought together recognised national and international scientific experts to analyse and debate the economic implications associated with the reduction and control of polluting emissions.

Shortly before the closing session, Cristina Narbona, Director of this edition, summed up the most important points that the speakers and students had tackled over the four days of the School. She pointed out that, independent of climate change, “humankind is facing the urgent challenge of a change in its energy model due to the progressive depletion of fossil fuels”. However, despite the current controversy “caused by specific economic and political interests”, climate change "is now a clear reality that, in addition to environmental effects, is having consequences on the development of new policies that seek to control and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, as well as supporting new opportunities for technological development and employment creation".

In order not to miss out on these opportunities, Narbona highlighted the need to “continue developing more ambitious national and international measures, since the later these measures are taken, the higher the economic cost involved”. This progress requires the participation of the private sector, which “needs clear measures in a stable regulatory framework with maximum geographical coverage, which guarantees the profitability of its investments associated with the change in the energy model”.

Cristina Narbona also acknowledged that, although to date the European Union has held an important leadership position on the international stage, promoting binding commitments such as the Kyoto Protocol, and taking on unilateral commitments to reduce emissions post-2012, today its own emissions represent only 14% of the world total. “The protagonists are now the United States and China, which together account for more than 40% of the world’s CO2 emissions, and which have recognised the need to take climate change into account and to accept commitments with the international community”.

Although the difficulties involved in signing a binding international climate change agreement have been made apparent during the course, Cristina Narbona remains optimistic, saying that “there are already many countries that have taken important decisions and included public investment in this area in their programs to tackle the economic crisis, such as the USA, Korea, Japan and China, as well as Spain with its Sustainable Economy Act”.

Professor Josep Borrell, Chairman of the European University Institute, specifically made reference to this need to promote sustainable development with the appropriate regulatory frameworks in the opening conference The EU and climate change, which he presented on Monday. In his talk, he highlighted the importance of having a stable framework that promotes and supports technological revolution in the energy sector, which is a necessity in the fight against climate change. He also pointed out that although the environmental policy of the 25 States is moving in the right direction, it is currently insufficient, saying, “Change is possible, but it requires a solid commitment and great political will from all parties”.

Those attending this edition of the School have also had the opportunity to visit the Palmas Altas Campus, Abengoa’s new corporate headquarters, guided by Simon Smith, the project manager from Richard Rogers’ office in Madrid. Simon Smith explained the centre’s features to the students, which is an outstanding example of Abengoa’s commitment to the fight against climate change and sustainable architecture.

Likewise, and similar to the last edition, participants also visited the Solúcar platform that Abengoa Solar has in the town of Sanlúcar la Mayor in the province of Seville. The platform is a global reference for renewable energy, which thanks to its 300 megawatts of power, has sufficient energy to supply 180,000 households, equivalent to a city like Seville, and will prevent the emission of 600,000 tonnes of CO2 every year.

The school forms part of the Focus-Abengoa Forum on Energy and Climate Change, which aims to promote, through public discussions, a genuine open platform for the research, presentation and debate of ideas and results through those actions that it believes are relevant at any given time based on the nature of the issues to be analysed. Furthermore, the School aims to encourage a wide-ranging and open debate so that it can incorporate and compare as many alternative initiatives as it deems appropriate in relation to renewable energy, with all the aspects related to climate change.

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