No goals set

At global meet on renewables

Published: Wednesday 30 June 2004

the International Conference for Renewable Energies ended in Bonn, Germany, on June 4 with governments from around the world pledging to tap renewable energy sources on a larger scale. But there was no agreement on specific targets despite rigorous lobbying by some eu countries, including Germany, towards this end. India had earlier said it was against any kind of global targets being imposed on nations, and insisted on countries setting their own national goals (see: 'Time to plug in', Down To Earth, June 15, 2004).

The four-day event was attended by more than 3,000 delegates representing governments, civil society organisations, and private sector and inter-governmental agencies. The outcome of the conference included an International Action Plan, a Political Declaration and a database of policy recommendations to promote renewable energy.

The issue of targets was debated intensely, but no final agreement could be reached. What, however, emerged were individual commitments and the International Action Plan detailing more than 150 proposed moves.

The final political declaration of the conference said the governments "reaffirm their commitment to substantially increase with a sense of urgency the global share of renewable energy". It called for strong regulatory and policy support for renewable energy sources, adding that these "will become the most important and widely available source of energy". In the opening session of the conference too, Jurgen Trittin, German minister for environment, nature conservation and nuclear safety, asserted that the "age of renewables had begun".

Meanwhile, the International Rivers Network (irn), a non-governmental organisation, has criticised the political declaration for failing to "exclude large hydropower from its definition of renewable energy".

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