At the Science and Technology in Society (STS) forum held recently in Kyoto, Japan, Ahmad O. Al-Khowaiter, Saudi Aramco’s chief technology officer, said “the challenge for our generation is to achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions, within this century.”
The forum was attended by more than 1,400 scientists, business leaders, and policymakers from 80 countries and regions, including 13 Nobel laureates.
Meeting the world’s energy and environmental needs
Al-Khowaiter pointed out that in the past century, plentiful, affordable energy — mostly in the form of fossil fuels — powered productivity growth and development around the world, contributing to a historically unprecedented improvement of quality of life, and a doubling of life expectancies.
“In the past 25 years alone, affordable energy helped lift a billion people out of poverty. That is the light of energy, which like the lightbulb, we tend to take for granted,” Al-Khowaiter said.
“Today we face the dual challenge of meeting the world’s growing energy needs in a reliable and affordable manner, while ensuring a sustainable environment for our future generations.”
The concept of a circular carbon economy offers a new way of approaching climate goals that values all options and encourages all efforts to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.
Al-Khowaiter emphasized that this is where the roles of science and technology are essential with the involvement of not only scientists and enterprises, but also government for solutions to be deployed on a large scale.
About the Science and Technology in Society forum
Hosted in Kyoto, Japan, the STS forum is an annual international high level platform for leaders to facilitate discussions across government, industry, and academia to jointly explore opportunities arising from science and technology, and address how to remove barriers by using science and technology to solve the issues facing humankind.
The science and innovation focused event covers a wide range of topics, including energy, life science, medicine, information and communications technology, and education.
Al-Khowaiter spoke at a session under the theme “Lights and Shadows of Energy and Environment.”
Japan presides over this year’s G20 and takes a leadership role in promoting carbon recycling.