Decarbonizing the Energy Sector in the MENA Region

Dec 2018

From November 29 to December 1, 2018, an international conference on The Decarbonization of the Energy Sector in the Mediterranean Region and Middle East – The Role of Concentrating Solar Power, took place in Nicosia, Cyprus.

A number of eminent international experts discussed possible strategies and measures to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases (primarily carbon dioxide), which is primarily due to the use of hydrocarbons in industry, transport and the residential sectors in the MENA Region.

Invited presentations addressed a wide spectrum of topics, including: Climate Change and Energy Transition challenges; Technological frontier of CSP technologies; Potential contribution of solar thermal technologies to the Energy Transition and Regional and International Approaches. The speakers addressed basic science issues, technological innovations and issues related to national, regional and international energy policies.

In his presentation under the heading of Decarbonizing the Energy Sector in the MENA Region: A Future Earth Perspective, Prof. Manfred Lange, the Director of the Future Earth MENA Regional Center addressed the need to take a somewhat broader, more holistic view on the decarbonization issue. He outlined that –aside from the technical and political issues involved, the interlinkages and interdependencies between energy demand/security, (potable) water availability and food security need to be taken into consideration. He stressed that socio-economic repercussions of needed measures as well as the (possible) resistance of major stakeholders to restructuring the energy sector have to be considered. This lead him to conclude that decarbonization strategies will have to be based on a stakeholder-centered, co-designed approach towards the Water-Energy-Food Nexus.

In the remainder of his presentation, Prof. Lange first gave a brief introduction to Future Earth and argued that the Future Earth research agenda, in general, and the stakeholder-centered Water-Energy-Food Nexus KAN of Future Earth, in particular, offer promising directions towards an effective and sustainable decarbonization of the energy sector in the MENA Region.

Copies of the presentation are available upon request to the author.