Sharing Ideas About the Future of Energy
David J. O'Reilly, Chairman and CEO
Opening Plenary, World Economic Forum
Davos, Switzerland, January 23, 2008
Dave O'Reilly was one of seven co-chairs of the 2008 World Economic Forum. He delivered these comments during the opening plenary of the conference, where he was introduced by Klaus Schwab.
Well Klaus, thank you. At the risk of sounding provincial as the energy person on this panel, I expect that energy will be on the docket for this year's Davos. And I look forward to a lot of discussion about it because there is a link, obviously, between energy, economy and environment, which we've heard described even here this evening.
You know, energy demand has been growing in the past decade, and rapidly, and it's the result of good news. And the good news here is that the developing world — their economic growth — has been accelerating, which has required more energy to support that economic growth. And that's the good part.
The bad part, or the challenge, I think, is that, as U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice pointed out, there are still 3 billion people in the world who aspire to improve their standard of living, who are seeking a higher quality of life. And that quality of life is going to require energy.
The scale of the energy system is so large, the challenge of how we can support economic growth, provide the energy so that the standard of living of these 3 billion people rises, and provide that in an environmentally sound way is, indeed, a big challenge. And it's something that I think begs for the very theme of this conference, which is collaboration and innovation.
So I'm looking forward to this conference this year. I'm looking forward to a vibrant discussion about this. And I hope that we'll come away from the conference with some actionable items for the private sector, for NGOs and for the public sector because we have an opportunity here. We have a challenge, and I think this is the venue to take on that challenge.
Updated: January 2008