COP18: Insights into Sustainable Development

December 5

This morning I had the opportunity to meet with His Excellency Dr. Mohamed bin Saleh al Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry for Qatar.  He was welcoming and kind and we thanked him for hosting this year’s conference.  During our discussion we touched on many topics including education and research as well as progress being made by both countries with regards to carbon capture and storage (CCS).  The Minister also shared his liking for the Alberta landscape and Alberta beef!

Photo of Minister McQueen being greeted at Qatar University

Warm greeting at Qatar University

It was a special pleasure for me to speak at Qatar University on “Canadian Insights into Sustainable Resource Development”.  I was welcomed and hosted by Dr. Eiman Mustafawi, the Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences.  More than 55 young women attended the session.  I was so impressed by their knowledge and interest in a broad range of issues related to sustainable development.

I spoke about the new integrated resource management approach that our government is taking under Premier Redford’s leadership.  The work we are doing on monitoring, land-use planning, and the single regulator was well received by the students and they had some great follow up questions.  The questions ranged from “How can government drive sustainable development through the economic downturn?” to “What strategies does government use to address transboundary water issues with the United States?”

Photo of Minister spending time with Qatar University students

Chatting with Qatari students

A highlight for me was to be able to speak more informally with several of the students after the session. Even in the brief time I had with them, I found these students to be insightful and engaging.  Each one of these amazing young women are demonstrating and modeling such strong leadership qualities.  It was such an honour to spend time with them.

Joining us at the session at Qatar University was Colleen Mapendere, Senior Trade Consultant at the Canadian Embassy in Qatar.  She shared the following comments with us, “What a great event … awesome to see women and leadership in sustainable development – made me want to go back to school!  Met a young woman who wants to be an ambassador one day – amazing!”

Later in the day, I was also able to meet with Hon. Greg Barker, Minister of State for Energy and Climate Change for Great Britain.  We discussed a range of shared interests, including advancing technology to address climate change, CCS, shale gas and renewable energy.  We also had positive meetings with the delegation from China who are keen to cooperate with us, particularly related to CCS.

Photo of Minister at a panel discussing the transition to a low carbon future.

After panel discussion

Also, had two interesting meetings with John Drexhage, from the International Mining Council, and Philippe Benoit, Head of the Energy Efficiency and Environment Division at the International Energy Agency.

At the end of the day, I participated in a panel looking at emissions trading and the role of energy efficiency in the transition to a low carbon future. The intent of the panel was to share our experience and generate a discussion and ideas that could support China in addressing climate change.

– Diana McQueen

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