Green growth the key to societies and planet

By Erlan Idrissov
0 Comment(s)Print E-mail Shanghai Daily, June 12, 2014
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There is always the danger in politics, as in life, of confusing the urgent with the most important. It can lead at its worst to a focus on overcoming immediate challenges at the expense of long-term problems which may eventually be even more damaging.

No one, of course, could argue that repairing the global economy and restoring growth following the catastrophic crisis in 2008 was not critical. But in the way the need to deliver sustainable growth and curb climate change has been pushed down national and international agendas as we kick-start recovery, there is a real risk we could be handing future generations a terrible legacy.

Looking back at the last five years, it would be difficult not to conclude that the sceptics were right when they claimed that green was only for the good times.

In the understandable need to maximize growth, countries across the world have down-graded environmental targets or are following policies which will make it impossible to see them met. Coal-fired power generation, for example, has made a come-back in many countries. Cheap electricity is seen as much more important than clean power.

In many ways, it might seem strange that Kazakhstan is determined to go against this trend. We are among the world’s top ten producers of oil and gas and home to the largest oil discovery in Kashagan field of the last four decades. Our fossil fuels have driven a ten-fold increase in our national GDP in the last 15 years, allowing us to invest heavily in modern infrastructure and the well-being and prosperity of our citizens.

The production and supply of oil and gas will continue to be a major part of our economy. But we are careful not to let them define our future. We also pride ourselves on thinking long-term.

It is why this week the formal countdown to the “Future Energy” EXPO in 2017 in Astana will begin as we receive the official flag of the Bureau International des Expositions. The global event will see over 100 nations coming to our capital to showcase clean and green energy technology and promote its use worldwide.

It would be easy to dismiss our EXPO as an exhibition which lasts just a few months or even dismiss “Future Energy” as a fashionable theme for a major oil producer to trumpet. But the reality is that it is a symbol of our nation’s determination to pursue green development and play our full part in promoting sustainability around the world.

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