Montreal will host the 21st Congress of the World Energy Council from September 12 to 16, 2010. At the event more than 3,500 delegates from over a hundred countries, representing all energy sectors, will meet to discuss the challenges the energy sector will face over the next 25 years. Some 200 exhibitors will gather at the Montreal Convention Centre to display their know-how and the results of recent technology research as well as educate the public about the challenges we must all face if we are to maintain our societies’ standard of living and development.

The Montreal Congress also comes at a strategic moment for the energy industry. Nine months after COP15, in Copenhagen, and just two months after the G8/G20 Summits, where energy will be front and center on the agenda. Taking place barely two months before COP16 in Cancun, Mexico, the Montreal Congress is de facto THE key moment for all leaders and decision makers in the energy sector. WHY?

COP15 in Copenhagen was the largest gathering of heads of state in the history of the United Nations, and even if they didn’t achieve all they had hoped to, the sheer number of attendees and the recognition they gained for maintaining the dialogue on climate change proved that there is much that needs to be resolved.

Given the need for action, the dialogue must go on. It is a necessity. Energy is the issue of the day. It is becoming clear that as energy and climate related problems and challenges become more global, awareness of these problems and the sense of urgency surrounding them also assume international proportions.

Pressure to reduce carbon dioxide emissions is increasingly stronger, even though 86% of world supply still comes from combustion of fossil fuels. That being said, the challenge of climate change and reduction of greenhouse gases is only one of the important issues.

At this time, more than one third of the world population (2 billion persons) have no reliable energy supply. Moreover, between now and 2020, world energy needs will grow steadily and prices will rise significantly as the pressure mounts from economic recovery and growth of developing countries. It is expected that the world demand for energy will double by 2050. Added to this, the energy sector now faces overwhelming problems of environmental, social, and political acceptability while the world economy is also coping with major disruptions.

The Montreal World Energy Congress is currently seen by the global energy community as a pivotal event. No fewer than 13 international organizations will be associated with the Congress, including the annual WEC-FT Energy Leader Summit which will be held outside London for the first time, special meetings of Energy Ministers from French-speaking countries and their Commonwealth counterparts, and extraordinary meetings of organizations with an interest in the energy sector, such as the World Bank and the e8.

Some 250 high-level speakers from industry, government and research and academia will talk about key issues facing the energy sector today, divided into four central themes to be discussed during the four-day event: day one addresses ACCESSIBILITY (meeting worldwide energy demand); day two addresses AVAILABILITY (what is the right energy mix for long term stability?); day three addresses ACCEPTABILITY (energy solutions for a healthy planet), and; day four addresses ACCOUNTABILITY (policies, regulations and financing).

A list of some of the speakers who have confirmed their attendance at the Congress:

Angel Gurría, Secretary General, OCDE
Henri Proglio, President and CEO, EDF, France
Khalid Al-Falih, President and CEO, Saudi Aramco, Saudi Arabia
Peter Voser, CEO, Shell, Netherlands
Georgina Kessel, Minister of Energy, Mexico
José Sergio Gabrielli de Azevedo, President and CEO, Petrobras, Brazil
Davood Manzoor, Minister of Energy, Iran
Daniel Yergin, Chairman, CERA, United States
Zhou Jiping, Vice President, China National Petroleum Corporation, China
Rick George, President and CEO, Suncor, Canada
Sergey Novikov, Head of Federal Tariff Service, Russia
Anne Lauvergeon, President and Director, Groupe Areva, France
Pierre Gadonneix, President, World Energy Council
Jacynthe Côté, CEO, Rio Tinto Alcan, Canada

The Montreal Congress will also have an impact outside the country with the Montreal Declaration, a text that will be drafted at the close of the Congress sessions. Because the Declaration will carry official weight and will present the conclusions from the Congress, it will define the World Energy Council’s action plan for the next three years, until the Daegu Congress in 2013.

The WEC adopted a philosophy of accountability. This means that the Council wants to be able to measure its progress from Montreal to the next Congress in Daegu. So if it decide, for example, to lower its greenhouse gas emissions, promote green energy, or if it want to advocate new kinds of cars, the actual results will be measured so it can follow progress for at least the next three or four years.

It is very urgent to work on efficiency and invest in research and development to ensure a steady supply as well as more efficient consumption. It is extremely important for people to know what’s going on right now, and be aware of the tremendous challenges we all face in terms of energy—poor countries and developing countries, as well as rich countries—everybody, right down to the consumer.

To know more about the Congress, visit our Website.