Global support for renewable energy

Posted: 8 June 2004

The International Conference for Renewable Energies - Renewables 2004 - which took place in Bonn from June 1-4, concluded with a strong declaration by 154 governments that renewable energy should and will play a major role in the energy economy of the 21st century.

Amid concern about rising oil prices and the environmental and health costs of a fossil fuel economy, much of the world has now settled on renewable energy as a key priority. For developing countries, renewable energy has the potential to provide power for the rural poor, reduce dependence on fossil fuels, and create thousands of new jobs.

This was the largest ever meeting of government and private sector leaders on renewable energy, with over 3,000 participants according to the organizers. The conference produced an international action programme that contains 165 individual commitments by governments, international agencies, and private groups to promote the use of renewable energy, including:

Chinese pledge

China pledged to increase its use of small hydro, wind, solar, and biomass power generation to 60,000 megawatts (the equivalent of 60 giant power plants), providing 10 per cent of its generating capacity by 2010. With this announcement and the related new policies now in the works, China may be on the verge of becoming the world's next leader in renewable energy. German Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder announced plans to increase Germany's use of renewable energy to 20 per cent of its energy supply by 2020. Germany also committed to provide 500 million Euros worth of low-interest loans over the next five years for renewable energy projects in developing countries. The World Bank committed to increase its renewable energy lending by at least 20 per cent annually over the next five years.

Worldwatch President Christopher Flavin, who served as an expert adviser to the conference, reported a remarkable level of enthusiasm and consensus among the delegates at the conference. "Thousands of leaders will leave this conference with a new sprit of optimism that with continued action, a new energy future is possible."

Despite the usual objections by the Saudi delegation - which seemed even more dissonant in the face of recently soaring oil prices - the Bonn conference demonstrated an unusually broad North-South consensus, with countries such as Brazil, Morocco, and Uganda playing major roles in the conference outcomes.

Source: Worldwatch

For further report and analysis see: Entering the age of renewable energy

Related links:

Worldwatch

IISD conference reports

EU to set new target for renewables

Creating the climate for change