Rome, 20 June 2012 – “from Rio to Rio” is the title of the eighteenth issue of Oil magazine, a preview of which will be distributed this week at the Rio+20 UN Conference in Rio de Janeiro. This special issue of the magazine, entirely dedicated to the theme of sustainability, was presented today at a side event organised by Oil magazine, “Initiative for accessing sustainable energy”, in the Italian Pavilion in the Rio+20 area.
The event saw the participation of Eni Chairman Giuseppe Recchi and Environment Minister Corrado Clini, who discussed the issues of sustainability, access to energy and protection of the environment. This special issue of the magazine begins with a word from one of the world’s top experts on sustainability, Jeffrey Sachs, director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University. “Rio must mark the beginning of a new era of sustainable goals”, Sachs says, specifying that though the challenges of sustainable development are extremely complex, we have an immense amount of know-how: all we need to do is apply it in the right direction. It’s impossible to talk about sustainable development without talking about Africa.
Oil magazine publishes an exclusive interview with the energy ministers of the Republic of the Congo, Henri Ossebi, and South Africa, Elizabeth Dipuo Peters. Both countries are working hard to make sure that everyone has access to the energy they need. World-renowned analyst Fatih Birol, Chief Economist at the IEA, confirms that supplying everyone with energy would not, as some people think, result in an overall increase in global demand or in polluting emissions. But, what we do need is plenty of investment to eliminate energy poverty by 2030: an average of 48 billion dollars a year.
Sustainability is a natural focus for Eni. According to Eni Chairman Giuseppe Recchi, a major international company is duty-bound to support development in the countries where it works, as this is “the best way to earn and maintain a ‘licence to operate’”. Then there are those who talk about “economical” solutions: Anil Markandya, whom Cambridge University calls one of the world’s 50 most influential thinkers on sustainability, suggests we improve access to clean technologies: it could make a real difference and it wouldn’t cost a great deal.
According to the Director General of the OPEC Fund for International Development (OFID), Suleiman Al-Herbish, the key is political will: we can beat energy poverty if wealthy nations and organisations meet their commitments. In a workshop held in Venice just before Rio+20, some of the world’s top specialists identified important solutions such as changing the way we price energy, promoting efficiency, passing appropriate legislation and providing incentives and including universal access to energy among the Millennium Growth Targets from 2015 onwards. Then there are those who say nature has the “answers”: photons and water, according to the winner of the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, Harold Kroto, will be able to produce enough energy to maintain our current levels of consumption. However, we also need to use resources efficiently. The sun is the “raw material” identified by Marjan Stojiljkovic, an expert in Sustainable Energy Finance, who says that solar energy can save us the equivalent of 10 or 20 light years. Sustainability is a goal for everyone, not only developing nations. The industrialised world also needs to become as sustainable as possible. In the United States, as Molly Moore, an author and former foreign correspondent at The Washington Post says, the armed forces are “going green”: a revolution introduced by the U.S. Navy Secretary, Ray Mabus. American writer Steve LeVine, adds the voice on an intellectual, saying that alternative energy sources must represent an aspiration to a true lifestyle.