Press Release 11 November 2007
PRODI, TESTA, CAILLE' OPEN THE CONGRESS -
A MESSAGE FROM PRESIDENT PUTIN
Rome, 11 November 2007 - Opening the World Energy Congress, Prime Minister Romano Prodi said today that the price of crude oil is being driven higher by speculation in the financial markets. "This speculation must be contained in the future," Prodi said.
To emphasize the need for innovation, Prodi told the congress that there already cars in use today that are capable of traveling at more than 20 kilometers on a litre of petrol: if this was the standard, we could save the entire petrol production of Saudi Arabia.
At the opening ceremony, messages from the Italian President of the Republic, Giorgio Napolitano and Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, were read out.
While Napolitano underlined the importance of research for the sustainable use of energy resources, the Russian president called for "open dialogue to create a more transparent energy market, with commercial rules based on principles of justice and mutual respect."
Before the Prime Minister's speech, Chicco Testa, the president of the Organising Committee, stressed the importance of the forum to help find solutions to future global energy challenges. He said that the significance of the event was underlined by the numbers attending: "4000 participants, almost 800 journalists, 220 young participants coming from 52 different countries. 117 countries are here today and 1450 companies".
"A stable high oil price in not necessarily a calamity. On the contrary it can set far-reaching processes of innovation in motion," Testa underlined the need to improve energy efficiency on the demand side and, at the same time, to beef up the supply of renewable sources of energy.
Testa called for countries around the world to act together to meet these global energy challenges.
He called for stronger powers for international institutions. "The word interdependence is a key word at this conference that underlines the dimension of the problem: only by agreeing solutions for everyone can this process unwind effectively, reducing the economic, social and political costs."
Testa added that: "For this a new, stronger power of international institutions is also necessary, and as Europeans we ask first and foremost for the European Union to play its role with greater efficacy."
After Testa, André Caillé, chairman of the World Energy Council, drew attention to the people in the world without access to electricity. "There are too many people on earth without access to a minimum level of modern energy - around two billion," Caillé said. To correct this imbalance and to meet rapidly growing demand, he said that global energy supplies must double by 2050.
"We must keep all our options open and the price of energy must stay high to encourage innovation and investment. We need to triple or even quadruple the current level of investment. This will be a major challenge," he told the congress.
Sounding a positive note, Caillé concluded: "We can be optimists. We can achieve this change without changing the climate of the planet".
The opening ceremony was attended by Pierluigi Bersani, the Minister for Economic Development and Alfonso Pecoraro Scanio, Minister for the Environment.
The World Energy Council in partnership with Oliver Wyman (global consulting firm) has over the past year worked on its third Assessment of country energy and climate policy aiming to identify key areas for policy improvements and to understand how successful policies can be transferred from one country to another. more >