Blair at Davos calls for peace, climate pact

Oil expert Daniel Yergin, chairman of Cambridge Energy Research, said US$90-$100 a barrel oil prices have hurt economic growth — and the world might be using 50% more energy 25 years from now.

"The question is what kind of energy, how efficiently, and how cleanly," he said.

"Everything's open for business right now," Yergin said. "I've never seen so much focus on innovation all across the energy spectrum," from conventional energy to ultra deep waters and renewable sources like solar and wind power.

"Maybe 5 to 10 years from now what we'll have is a more diversified energy picture, and perhaps people will be driving a car that gets 70 miles per gallon. They may be driving electric cars, cars with batteries, or hybrids," he said.

Politically, there was much talk about whether Bush's goal of a peace treaty between Israel and the Palestinians by the end of the year will be reached.

"I would like to see an agreement that gives us the prospect of a lasting peace between Israel and Palestine because I do think that would be the greatest signal of reconciliation with which the 21st century could start," said Blair, who is now the chief envoy for the key international Mideast mediators known as the Quartet.

"The terms of an agreement are not the toughest challenge," he said.

"The absolute key to resolving this is to continue the political process" and change "the facts on the ground" to meet Israel's security concerns and give Palestinians "greater confidence that Israel will lift the burden of occupation," Blair said.

Wiesel said he also wanted to see Mideast peace this year, and "to alleviate the suffering in Darfur which has become the capital of human suffering in the world today."

"I'd like China to open its doors to the Dalai Lama so I could accompany him to go to Tibet. That would be a great, great victory," Wiesel said, as the audience burst into applause.

This year, Blair said, he'd also "like to see us get the climate change deal or framework of it."

Nooyi said she'd also like to see "a climate policy" and efforts to bring down rising food prices, which she called "unacceptable."

"We've taken years to get people out of poverty, give them a couple of meals a day when they were only eating one meal a day or less," she said. "We run the risk of slipping back to poverty if food prices are escalating much too fast."

Many participants touched on another major theme at Davos this year: How to stem terrorism.

Afghanistan's president warned that the world could suffer terribly from the "wildfire" of terrorism engulfing his region. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf pledged to "carry on the fight against terrorism and extremism."

Wiesel said the greatest threat to humanity today "is the globalization of fear because of terrorism" — especially suicide bombings and fanaticism.

"Somehow the future today is much more dangerous than it used to be because of people we don't know who have a cult of death ... and practice the cult of death," he said.

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