AMSTERDAM – A major international conference on renewable energy is taking place in Bonn next week (Tuesday 1 June – Friday 4 June). The International Renewables Conference is the most prominent global initiative to promote renewable energy, and the first ever inter-governmental meeting focusing solely on this important issue. The event will be attended by Friends of the Earth campaigners.
The conference comes out of the 2002 Johannesburg World Summit and the promise of the most willing countries at that meeting to drive renewable energy forward and set targets for renewable energy growth around the world. Over 1,500 international decision-makers from the fields of energy, environment, development and planning will debate the core challenges including the supply and financing of energy to the poor and conservation of the global climate. Around 60 side events will take place alongside the plenary sessions.
If we are to tackle climate change, global carbon dioxide emissions must begin to decline by 2020. One of the key measures to achieve deep and rapid cuts in carbon dioxide is a switch to renewable energy around the world. This must be led by the industrialised and major industrialising nations (such as China and India).
Two billion people currently have no access to energy services. Introducing clean and affordable renewable energy services can help alleviate poverty, reduce regional and local air and water pollution, generate jobs and income, empower local communities and promote gender equity.
Friends of the Earth is campaigning for governments and other key constituencies to overcome the obsolete fossil-based energy system and adopt clear, strong polices towards renewable energy and energy efficiency.
Friends of the Earth’s International Climate Campaigner Catherine Pearce said: “Developing renewable energies such as biomass, wind, tidal, solar and photo voltaics will have wide-ranging benefits for the entire global community. They can contribute to security of energy supply, reduce fuel imports and dependency, cut greenhouse gas emissions and improveenvironmental protection. It’s time politicians and decision-makers across the world embraced these technologies for the benefit of us all.”
“Clean technologies and renewables must be deployed as soon as possible. If the world is locked into a carbon-intensive developmentpath, the impacts will fall most heavily on communities in fossil fuel producing regions and those most vulnerable to climate change. Resources and money, particularly public funds, must be channeled away from dirty, inefficient fossil-fuels and towards the clean, green energy of tomorrow”.
Attracting investment from International Financial Institutions such as the World Bank, to develop renewables will receive significant attention at the conference. Emil Salim, writer of the recent World Bank’s Extractive Industries Review – which was highly critical of current World Bank investment in oil, mining and gas – will also be speaking at the conference. He recommends the Bank end support for oiland invests in renewables instead.
Hannah Ellis, International Financial Institutions Campaigner for Friends of the Earth said: “The World Bank currently invests over 80% of its energy portfolio in fossil fuel projects. The Extractive Industries Review concludes that in the vast majority of cases these projects do not alleviate poverty or promote sustainable development. In light of these conclusions, and the immediate need to tackle global climate change, the World Bank must stop lending for damaging fossil fuel projects and help develop sustainable renewable energy instead.”
FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT:
Catherine Pearce, mobile 01726 299719 from within Germany + 49 1726 299719 from outside Germany.
Hannah Ellis: + 44 (0) 7810 558 246 (m)
Press Office: 020 7566 1649
NOTES TO EDITORS:
1. The Renewables Conference will be held in Bonn in Germany from 1-4 June 2004.
2. From 8.30am on 2 June, Friends of the Earth Germany, BUND will be hosting a Friends of the Earth International action against credits for fossil-fuel and nuclear energy in front of the Congress-Center with a 10 metre high inflatable Carbon Dinosaur.
3. From 5:30pm to 7:00pm on 2 June, a Friends of the Earth International demonstration for renewable energy, “Here comes the sun” will start at Rheinaue (at the “Große Blümchenwiese”). Route follows: Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. – crossing Franz-Josef-Strauß-Allee – Sträßchensweg – Kurt-Schumacher-Str. – Hermann-Ehlers-Str. – conference-center (6:00 p.m.) – Charles-de-Gaulle-Str. back to the Rheinaue.