Renewables 2004 Wraps up With Unified Progress

One hundred and fifty- four countries signed up to a watered down commitment to “substantially increase, with a sense of urgency, the global share of renewable energy.”

Bonn, Germany – June 4, 2004 [] One hundred and fifty- four countries signed up to a watered down commitment to “substantially increase, with a sense of urgency, the global share of renewable energy” at the close of the Renewables 2004 conference on June 4. But the German government hailed it as a break-through and even non-governmental organizations gave it a good review. Jurgen Trittin, German Minister for the Environment, said it is the first time there has been a process in international law to monitor progress toward specific goals, which governments and international organizations set for themselves at this conference. The United National Development Program will monitor and report progress in 2006. Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, Minister of Economic Cooperation and Development, said the 2004 conference produced the specific commitments and targets which did not come out of the 2002 Johannesburg conference on sustainable development. This conference, she said, had overcome the “strange alliance” of OPEC and developing countries, which had prevented more concrete actions at Johannesburg. Asked at a press conference about his view of USA participation, Trittin said he found U.S. participation “constructive” though “hesitant and slow.” Many had urged the conference organizers to leave the U.S. out, but Trittin praised the U.S. proposals to work for cost breakthroughs on renewable technologies through its research and development program. Outside Renewables 04 conference in Bonn, Germany, there were many displays of renewable energy, including this pedal-driven ice cream or beer cart, with refrigeration provided by the PV cells on the canopy. Russia, he noted, didn’t come. But it is much more important that Russia sign on to the Kyoto climate change agreement, as President Putin recently indicated they would. This gets the world closer to a global carbon trading system which could bring forth big capital investments in renewable energy in developing countries. Trittin added praise for China’s commitment to 10% of its total energy use from renewables by 2010. “Renewables 2004 has set the stage for renewable energy to be the major part of the world’s energy future, ” concluded a World Wildlife Fund press release summarizing an NGO analysis of the specific programs submitted by governments and international agencies. P. van Geel, Undersecretary of The Netherlands Environmental Dept., is at the wheel of the ESA Nuna II, a solar PV race car displayed at the Renewables 04 conference in Bonn, Germany. The company claims the car needs less energy than a hair dryer to reach 100 km per hour. Still, the NGOs found only 20 of the 180 reviewed proposals truly outstanding. Only the programs submitted by Germany, Spain, Denmark, and New Zealand stood out among industrial countries. Mark Braly is attending the four-day conference in Bonn, Germany as a correspondent for News The Green Peace and Friends of the Earth “Don’t be a Fossil” exhibit at Renewables 04 conference in Bonn, Germany
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