High oil prices will serve to reduce demand by providing an incentive for greater energy efficiency and conservation. The recent move away from gas-guzzling SUVs and the rapid growth in the market for hybrids are an example of this.
Energy demand and prices depend to a great extent on the state of world economy. Economic prospects are closely related to prospects for political stability. In both cases, what is most predictable is the prospect of continued uncertainty.
Energy is at the very core of a transition to a sustainable development pathway. This depends primarily on reducing our dependence on fossil fuels and developing new and alternative sources of energy which can meet our growing needs without unacceptable levels of damage to our environment. In the meantime, we must face the fact that the fossil fuels era is far from over.
Through the joint events that will take place in the Peninsula as part of this festival, you are promoting inter-Korean reconciliation, adding a new dimension to international efforts aimed at achieving durable peace and prosperity there.
Fundamental to the effective functioning of such a system is the role of science. We must look to science to illuminate major risks, vulnerabilities and opportunities, and to provide the ingredients for the technologies and processes through which we manage them.
There is a consensus in the international community that the Korean Peninsula should be free from nuclear weapons, and that this should be achieved by peaceful means.
On Jan Pronk, for recognition of the remarkable contribution made to the cause of intemational cooperation and development in so many ways over the years.