More than 350 members of the Masdar community took part in the International Day of Climate Action to raise awareness about climate change and the dangers of excessive carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.
The Masdar team comprised employees, consultants and partners at its operating units, as well as 30 students and faculty from the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. A senior Australian government trade delegation visiting Masdar City also took part, led by the Honourable Jon Stanhope, Premier of the Australian Capital Territory. They were joined by 30 Grade 5 students from Al-Muna Primary School in Abu Dhabi who enjoyed a lesson in environmental awareness by being part of the activity.
Some members of the Masdar group were ferried in the UAE’s first electric-powered bus to the 10MW photovoltaic (PV) solar array at Masdar City, the world’s first cleantech cluster located in a carbon-neutral, zero-waste and 100% renewable energy-powered city. The provision and testing of the electric bus is a result of a partnership between Masdar and the Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT). The DoT – as the Government authority mandated to deliver and operate an effective transportation system – is studying the possible applications for electric buses in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi in a series of tests across Abu Dhabi and Masdar City. The electric bus ZEUS (Zero Emission Urban System) is manufactured by BredaMenarinibus, Italy.
The group assembled at the PV array – the largest solar plant in the Middle East – and formed the number 350 to draw public attention to growing scientific evidence that 350 parts per million (ppm) is the maximum safe level of carbon dioxide (CO2) in the world’s atmosphere. The current CO2 concentration is 387ppm.
Khaled Awad, Director of Masdar City, said: “At Masdar, we understand the importance of contributing as individuals to the need to reduce carbon emissions. More importantly, we recognise the need for collaborative efforts that lead to real solutions. Less than two months from the Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen we believe it is necessary to place great focus on issues of climate change, energy efficiency and renewable energy.”
Masdar Institute students hosted a picnic on the Abu Dhabi Corniche, and invited members of the public to pledge to reduce their carbon footprint for the day.
The Masdar action was one of more than 2,000 that took place across the globe, held six weeks before the world’s nations convene in Copenhagen for the United Nations Climate Change Conference to draw up a new climate treaty. Eighty-nine countries have already endorsed the 350ppm target alongside Dr Rajendra Pachauri, the chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change; Sir Nicholas Stern, the world’s foremost climate economist; and Nobel laureate Al Gore.
The 350ppm figure was determined after accelerating polar warming and other early climate impacts led scientists to conclude that the current 387ppm has exceeded the safe zone. Unless the global community returns to 350ppm this century, there is risk of an irreversible impact, including the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, resulting in the release of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere.
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