Green Revolution – Endless Possibilities


On the second day of the Macao International Environmental Cooperation Exhibition and Forum 2011 (2011MIECF), Mr. Klaus Toepfer, Former United Nations Under Secretary-General and cumulatively Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), was invited to deliver his keynote speech on “The Carbon Economy – corner stone for a dynamic, sustainable development” and was later interviewed by the media. Mr. Toepfer stressed that sustainable development can be applied to all current technologies and solutions and that human beings should use sustainable development to achieve endless possibilities. During the interview, Mr. Toepfer said: “Everything relates to creativity as anything can be unexpected.” Mr. Toepfer, who is currently 72 years old, gave the example of the internet and mobile phone, which were unimaginable when he was young, however they are widely used nowadays. “In sustainable development, we can think of different ways to solve a current issue, such as carbon dioxide. At present, when dealing with this matter, generally speaking, we have a quite negative approach, for it is either to reduce it or sink it into the sea after compressed. However carbon dioxide is not actually thrash. Everybody says that we need a green environment and precisely plants need carbon dioxide, for without gas they cannot survive. Many chemical programs also need carbon dioxide. As long as it is put into good use, it will not be easily released into the atmosphere and destroy the environment, as we have feared. Of course, Mr. Toepfer´s view does not mean that he rejects the current emission reduction actions, as he stresses that one single formula could not achieve the goal of the world becoming a better place to live in. At the same time, he also rejects the idea of completely stopping the old ways of energy production, including nuclear energy. “One should not put all eggs in one basket, as it would be too dangerous!”. Professor Toepfer, who has held several senior positions in the German government, said that all of us have seen, from the Japan or former Soviet Union´s nuclear incident, the issue of nuclear problems. However, he considers that the world´s attention should not only focus on whether to give up nuclear energy, but how to manage and use nuclear energy in a more secure manner. In this regard, a more stringent and comprehensive safety assessment is extremely important, and every country should ponder, on the basis of its own situation, on whether to continue using different ways of energy production. “You cannot say that I am optimistic, however, as I have lived so many years, my experience enlightens me that as long as the human being is determined to solve a problem, it could eventually be solved”, he said. “We should not put blame on some countries for having started sustainable development not early enough, but on the contrary, we should be happy that they are willing to take the first step now. Regarding China´s 12th 5-Year Plan to implement the emission reduction target, Mr. Toepfer says that although China is facing a number of challenges, such as a vast land, income inequality, economic development, etc., the country is still willing to increase its efforts in environmental protection and we should feel happy about it. However, he stressed that there is a long and winding road for China should it wish to pursue this direction. In his speech, Mr. Toepfer said that in order to improve the economy we should develop, and development needs energy. However, in the present scenario of rapid population growth, the way energy is being used would not be sufficient to meet demand. Only by exploring new energy sources that the world could continue to develop and one of the better ways is not to be confine ourselves to using fossil fuels. With regards to the issue of supply and demand, while using energy, we should also endeavour to improve energy efficiency. In addition, he also said that although at present there are smart grids, smart electricity meters and new concepts of energy storage, however, the technology is still in its infancy, but he was deeply confident that in the near future, human beings would be able to master new technologies and push the concept forward for a broader application. For related enquiries, please contact MIECF Secretary, telephone (853) 8798-9675, fax (853) 2872-7123, e-mail miecf@ipim.gov.mo, or navigate the following MIECF official website: www.macaomiecf.com

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