Johannesburg, September 2, 2002 – Environmental campaigners reacted with fury today to the news that no target for increasing renewable energy use has been agreed by Ministers.

Following long and contentious negotiations, all reference to a target for renewable energy has been dropped from the section of the Action Plan dealing with energy and climate policy. Instead, the text calls for subsidies for “cleaner” fossil fuels and large hydroelectric schemes to be provided to developing countries. Campaigners, and a group of countries led by Brazil, had insisted that the minimum target necessary to combat man-made climate change was for 10% primary energy supply to be produced from new renewable sources by 2010.

Despite ratifying the Kyoto Protocol, Japan played an important role in formulating the compromise text together with the United States and OPEC. The agreed text contains a reference to the ninth session of the Commission on Sustainable Development (CSD9). CSD9 identified both fossil fuels and nuclear power as types of energy that can support sustainable development.

The deal also fails to identify a target and programme of action supporting the provision of energy services to the 2 billion people currently without access to these services. Some negotiators have speculated that an absurd horse-trade occurred between the water and energy targets. It will be impossible to deliver on the agreed water and sanitation target without providing clean and affordable energy services to the same people that need clean water.

Commenting, Kate Hampton, Climate Campaigner for Friends of the Earth International said:

“The Earth Summit has just seen a terrible betrayal of the fight against climate change. This is grim news for the millions of people across the world whose homes, jobs and lives depend on a reduction in human emissions of climate changing gases. Many of the most affected do not even have access to the kind of energy services this summit was supposed to provide.”

“We are bitterly angry that the OPEC countries, Japan and the United States have combined in this way to help wreck the world’s environment and endanger the security of our common home. The deal is as stupid and self-destructive as the man who climbed into an oven and switched up the heat. The resulting text is so bad that those countries who care about the environment should simply refuse to have anything to do with it,” Hampton added.

Kate Hampton (climate campaign coordinator) +27 72 401 5388
Ian Willmore (Media) +27 72 401 5386