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Climate policy debate brings unanimous view on Mexico summit

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Today, the eighteenth Power-Gen Europe conference and exhibition held at the RAI in Amsterdam, hosted a panel discussion on the future of climate policy. Chaired by international journalist and presenter Steven Sackur, the debate featured seven high profile figures form the power and energy industry. Key issues raised included targets for global carbon emissions, the future of CCS and what part new technologies will play in the future of the power industry.

Stephen Sackur opened the joint plenary panel discussion underlining the uncertainly that still existed in the industry after what he described as the failure of the Copenhagen summit. Sackur put this into context of the economic downturn and positioned the debate around how the industry could try and meet carbon reduction targets and create a balanced system.

The debate took place in front of a packed auditorium, which was representative of the continued popularity of this year's show. The debate was streamed live on the internet, the first time this has been done at the show. Sackur led the debate with some searching questions, and took questions from the auditorium, as well as working in questions from the online viewers.

A key point that emerged from the debate was the unanimous view of the panel that the EU must lead the way in setting realistic targets for carbon emissions. However, panel members were keen to stress that the current economic environment could make this difficult. The panel were also in agreement on the view that the forthcoming Mexico summit would not produce a different result from Copenhagen. Energy efficiency and energy pricing was also a keenly contested topic. David Porter, chief executive for the Association of Electricity Producers in the UK stated: "The days of cheap energy are long gone, and we have to get used to that." Stephen Kidd, director of strategy and research of the World Nuclear Association also stressed "Cheap and reliable energy does not always go together."

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