Former Soviet President Calls for Global Solar Fund

Calling on leaders of the world’s largest industrialized nations (G8) to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency, former Soviet President Gorbachev marked the 20th anniversary of the world’s largest nuclear power plant disaster in Chernobyl with a request for the creation of a $50 billion Global Solar Fund over 10 years.

The request was in an “Energy Security” brief sent with a letter from President Gorbachev, who is Founder and Chairman of Green Cross International, to heads of state and leaders of parliaments in the G8 nations as they prepare for the upcoming G8 Summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. “This idea reflects our vision of a way of helping the energy impoverished in the developing world, while creating concentrations of solar energy in cities that could be used to prevent blackouts, and would result in lower electricity bills,” said President Gorbachev. “The Fund could easily be raised by cutting subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy, to install solar photovoltaic equipment around the planet, thereby driving down the price and creating a mass market for a clean fuel technology.” “The greatest energy security challenge facing humanity is the implementation of clean renewable energy solutions for sustainable development,” said Matt Petersen, President of Global Green USA and Chair of Green Cross’s Energy and Resource Efficiency Committee. “Leveraging an unprecedented clean renewable energy and energy efficiency deployment is the only way to achieve real, lasting energy security.” The recent discussions of nuclear power serving as a solution to climate change prompted comment from President Gorbachev: “Nuclear power is neither the answer to modern energy problems nor a panacea for climate change challenges. You don’t actually solve problems by finding solutions that create more problems down the track. Of all the energy options, nuclear is the most capital intensive to establish, decommissioning is prohibitively expensive and the financial burden continues long after the plant is closed.” Contrasting such energy expenditures in this country, Gorbachev pointed out, “In the U.S., for example, direct subsidies to nuclear energy amounted to $115 billion between 1947 and 1999 with a further $145 billion in indirect subsidies. In contrast, subsidies to wind and solar combined during the same period totaled only $5.5 billion.”
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