Abu Dhabi's Global Energy Forum will take a deep-dive into energy transition

The Atlantic Council will organise the fifth edition of its annual forum on energy online this year from January 19 to 22


Model of Al Taweelah Power and Desalination complex at World Future Energy Summit (WFES) Expo in ADNEC during Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW).

Under the theme of ���Industry Convergence: Accelerating Sustainable Development���, ADSW 2019 will explore how industries are responding to the digital transformation underway in the global economy, which in turn is giving rise to new opportunities to address global sustainability challenges.

(Photo by Reem Mohammed/The National)

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The question of how to chart an economic recovery after Covid-19 amid net carbon neutrality pledges will dominate talks at this year’s online Atlantic Council Global Energy Forum.

A fall in greenhouse gas emissions, especially from the transport sector, has led to a reckoning among multinationals and governments on the need to put sustainability at the core of their recovery programmes.

The forum's fifth annual meeting will consider the consequences such a pivot could have towards energy transition at a global level and how countries and institutions in the Middle East will respond.

It will take place at the same time as the annual Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week and will focus on the UAE's energy transition plans. The UAE has hosted the forum for the past five years.

The diversification strategies that Opec’s third-largest producer is expected to adopt after the pandemic will also be a topic of discussion on the first day.

The forum will begin at 8am eastern time in the US on January 19 to accommodate a global audience.

The first day will offer high-level insights from energy policymakers, including a keynote address by Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology and Special Envoy for Climate Change.

Minister of Energy and Infrastructure Suhail Al Mazrouei, Mubadala's head of UAE investments Musabbeh Al Kaabi, International Energy Agency executive director Fatih Birol and Opec secretary general Mohammed Barkindo are all part of the line-up on day one.

India's petroleum minister Dharmendra Pradhan will also join renowned energy historian and IHS vice chairman Daniel Yergin for a panel discussion that will set the tone for the four-day energy forum.

The growing importance of environmental, social and governance investment in a post-pandemic financial world will also be addressed through conversations with Khaldoon Mubarak, group chief executive of Mubadala, and Larry Fink, chairman and chief executive of BlackRock, the world’s largest asset manager that has shunned fossil fuel investments.

The session, which is part of ADSW’s series of webinars, will be streamed alongside the Global Energy Forum.

The impact of the Abraham Accords on the energy sector will also be discussed.

Mr Al Mazrouei will join his Israeli counterpart Yuval Steinitz and outgoing US energy secretary Dan Brouillette for a panel discussion.

The Abraham Accords were signed by the UAE and Bahrain last year as they normalised political and economic ties with Israel.

The forum will also address the politics of climate change in the US, which is set to rejoin the Paris Agreement on climate change on January 20 after the inauguration of US president-elect Joe Biden.

Mr Biden's swearing-in ceremony will be livestreamed during the second day of the forum. His ambitious plans for energy transition and the expected change in the tone of US foreign policy will also be explored at length.

The Biden administration promises a bright future for renewables in the US, the world’s largest producer of oil and gas.

The US president-elect has promised to drive $2 trillion in investment in clean energy across various sectors such as transport, power and construction.

The impact of energy transition on nuclear energy and the energy security of the US will be discussed on the third and fourth days of the forum.