World Future Energy Summit Kicks Off In Abu Dhabi

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By Jacey Fortin | January 17, 2013 7:01 AM EST

A massive renewable energy conference kicked off this week in Abu Dhabi, the capital city of the United Arab Emirates.

The World Future Energy Summit, or WFES, aims to brings businesses and public officials together for exhibitions, panel discussions, corporate meetings and other events. Over 30,000 people are in attendance at this sixth annual gathering, representing 150 countries.

The summit, which began on Tuesday and ends Thursday, is hosted by the green energy research enterprise Masdar, which is a subsidiary of the government-owned Mubadala Development Company. It gives hundreds of energy-related companies  -- there are 514 registered exhibitors from all around the world -- the opportunity to make connections, share ideas and strike deals that can further global progress in the arena of renewable energy sources.

Events are already in full swing. For the opening ceremony on Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande took to the stage to deliver a keynote speech on the importance of new energy technology.

"If we don't act, if we don't do anything, if we don't invest anything, we can be sure that we will have a catastrophe very soon,” he said, according to The Guardian. “We have to have confidence to invest in the new energy. We can act together to create this world of renewable energy.”

Also in attendance were the UAE Vice President and Prime Minster Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, as well as the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who gave an opening speech for the ceremony.

“We are working to ensure energy, water and food security to achieve sustainable development and provide decent life for present and future generations,” he said, according to the UAE newspaper Khaleej Times.

Other high profile speakers included Argentinian President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, Queen Rania al-Abdullah of Jordan, and American global development expert and Columbia University Professor Jeffrey Sachs.

The three-day schedule for panelists and speakers can be found here.

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