Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Green Technology Seminar Big Hit

A panel of local environmental experts concluded Monday night at a Knowledge Oasis Muscat (KOM) Digital Nation seminar that drastic changes in energy-consumption are necessary to avert a global crisis.

Energy use in business and in the home was put under the microscope by panelists from Total Alignment; Five Oceans Environmental Services; Sultan Qaboos University; Oman Botanic Garden; and Mazoon Environmental Services.

According to the panelists, climate change and the need to manage diminishing fossil fuel reserves are today two of the biggest challenges facing the planet. “In order to secure the future for ourselves and generations to follow, we must act to reduce energy consumption and substantially cut greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide. It’s in this regard that renewable energy and green technology are assuming greater importance. I think that came out loud and clear during tonight’s discussions,” comments Total Alignment’s Raza Ashraf and moderator of Monday night’s Digital Nation seminar.

There is now a scientific consensus that climate change is happening and that it is being caused by human activity. Burning fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas, along with deforestation and land-use changes, are increasing the concentrations of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere. These gases, notably carbon dioxide (CO2), are absorbing heat from the sun, causing average temperatures to rise.

“Investment in green technology is essential if our economy is to be developed for the future,” says KOM’s Director General, Mohammed Al Maskari. Adding: “I think Oman is well placed to take forward the application of green technology and critically to continue to develop a manufacturing base to support renewable energy. We have the potential and a role to play in terms of the development of wind turbines, wave and tidal energy and photovoltaics. Indeed, KOM is looking to attract companies working in these important areas.”

“I think local busineeses have a big responsibility,” says Dr. Abdullah Al Zakwani of the newly-launched Industrial Research Centre. “We speak to a lot of executives, and find that most are concerned about the impact their business is having on the environment. Many of them are interested in the economic benefits of being more energy-efficient. Over the long-term, green technology costs will become less expensive. In fact, in some cases, they’re already cheaper. Resistance to greening your business in general is temporary and futile.”

Mohammed Al Hinai (pictured) of the KOM-based business incubator program, the Knowledge Mine, said: “The most obvious benefits of renewable energy are that it is less polluting than conventional energy and won’t run out. Renewable energy can also be produced more locally. This means that it can help local and national economies by using local resources and creating jobs.”

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