ExxonMobil lecture to address global emissions issue

Chelsea Klaiber/Contributing Writer

An estimated 1.3 billion people live without electricity, according to ExxonMobil’s 2013 “The Outlook for Energy: A View to 2040.” With a projected world population of nearly 9 billion by 2040, the demand for energy is growing quickly.

ExxonMobil is taking on the challenge of creating a solution to satisfy these demands while reducing the negative effects of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere.

As a part of ExxonMobil’s yearly energy outlook, several factors, such as a country’s birth rate, urbanization and economic growth are studied when assessing how future trends will affect the supply and demand of energy.

“Renewable resources are growing substantially, but we need a back-up,” said David Khemakhem, an energy and technology advisor for ExxonMobil.

Khemakhem will be at FIU this Tuesday, Feb. 12, to educate students about the future of energy around the world. The event, which begins at 10 a.m. in the Management and Advanced Research Center Pavilion, is sponsored by the School of International and Public Affairs’ Global Energy Security Forum.

Fossil fuels, such as coal and oil, emit harmful carbon dioxide which contributes to global warming. Though renewable resources exist, they are not the most efficient for consumers.

“Solar power might be fine during the day, but all of a sudden at 3 in the afternoon, there’s a big cloud. You wouldn’t be happy with your electrical company if they said, ‘Well sorry, there’s a cloud, I’m going to have to shut you down,’” Khemakhem said.

Renewables need to be used as much as possible, but as of now, fossil fuels are still required to keep up the demand for accessible energy.

Edward Glab, director of the Global Energy Security Forum, says the tricky part is setting a standard for all countries to reduce harm to the environment.

“We are not the biggest polluters in the world anymore,” he said. “It’s the developing world.”

According to The New York Times, China is now the largest user of coal in the world. Just last month, Beijing was so heavily coated in soot that the Environmental Protection Agency declared conditions hazardous and urged residents to stay indoors.

Despite the environmental concerns, developing nations have no desire to switch to more expensive forms of energy when cheaper fossil fuels are contributing to their economic growth.

“We need a global solution,” said Glab. “The US and Europe can provide leadership, but we can’t solve the problem on our own and that’s what concerns me.”

Until this solution can be met, Glab still believes that students can help reduce carbon dioxide emissions by taking small steps- conservation and efficiency is key.

“We can all contribute to that. I do a lot of small things, like keeping my air conditioning set at 78,” Glab said.

Khemakhem hopes that students will come out to the event and broaden their perspective on just how important energy is in our lives.

“There are changes that are happening, and we need to be part of that change,” he said.