|Sustainable Energy News - No. 31 - November 2000 - World's Largest Wind Cooperative - Higher Targets for Wind Power in Europe (INFORSE, 2000, 16 p.)|
By Gunnar Boye Olesen, INFORSE-Europe, OVE Denmark
Gunnar Boye Olesen
Worrying UN Definition on Sustainable Energy
In the preparation for the UN Commission for Sustainable Developments session on energy (CSD9), nuclear and coal are still in the documents. To include these two technologies can be destructive for any attempt to use the CSD9 as a basis for worldwide activities in support of sustainable energy solutions.
If they are not removed from the agenda, we have to question the value of discussing energy at the level of the CSD.
The two unsustainable technologies were included in the report from the official group of experts preparing for the CSD9 at their meeting in March this year, and in the report from the UN Secretary General to this meeting.
The petition against including nuclear in the CSD9, mentioned in the previous issue of Sustainable Energy News, was supported by a large number of NGOs and was sent to the CSD Secretariat in the UN as well as to the member countries of the CSD. The NGO-protests led to the removal of nuclear power as a topic for the exhibition on Sustainable energy technologies that is proposed as a side-event to the CSD9. So far, the protests have not led to removal of the unsustainable technologies from the CSD9s agenda. A few countries are strongly advocating the technologies, e.g., Canada has a firm position in favour of nuclear power. The final preparation of the CSD9 will be the meeting of the group of experts in February - March 2001, while the CSD9 itself will be on April 16-27, 2001. These are the remaining opportunities to influence the CSD9.
EU for Global Action
From the EU, the paper proposed for consideration by CSD9 is entitled Shared Goals for Global Action. It calls for governments to introduce a large number of progressive actions, including phase-out of harmful subsidies, factoring environmental costs into energy prices, strengthening the role of civil society in energy decision-making, promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy, and asking multilateral development banks to promote sustainable energy in all sectors. It does not mention nuclear power, while it has a short paragraph on fossil fuels calling for continued development of cleaner and more efficient technologies.
Drawing by Claes Movin
The paper calls for increased North-South and South-South co-operation for sustainable energy, but it does not include specific proposals for the UN system. In general, the many good proposals are very briefly described.
European UN Input
The Sustainable Energy Committee of the UN Economic Commission for Europe made a statement for the CSD9 at its meting, November 2. The European ECO-Forum took part in the development of this multi-stakeholder statement, and so did the coal lobby. The resulting paper calls for increased investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy, and also for cleaner use of fossil fuels. It recognises that no consensus can be made on nuclear.
Focus on Energy Subsidies IEA-UNEP
The International Energy Agency (IEA) and the UN Environmental Program (UNEP) are focusing their preparation for the CSD9 on subsidies. They are doing this with a series of regional consultations entitled Energy Subsidy Reform and Sustainable Development: Challenges for Policy Makers. The first workshop is on November 6-7 in Paris, while later workshops will be in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. The workshops will all have NGO representation.
INFORSE and other networks in the CSD Energy Caucus are also working on proposals for the CSD9. As part of this, many have sent statements and success stories to the UN Secretary General, who is collecting such inputs to report at the CSD9. INFORSE has proposed this vision: to develop energy systems where energy services necessary for a just and human centered development are provided in a sustainable way using renewable energy.
To do this, we propose to phase out nuclear energy and fossil fuels, replacing them with renewable energy and energy efficiency. We should also supply adequate energy resources to the 2 billion people that lack basic energy needs today for, e.g., light and healthy cooking facilities. We propose that this should happen within 50 years.
While the first INFORSE statement was submitted to the UN in October, we continue to develop our vision into a description of how the transformation to a sustainable energy system could look on a world scale. We want to describe how we could reduce greenhouse gas emissions fast enough to avoid climate catastrophes, and at the same time avoid nuclear catastrophes. We invite interested NGOs to join this work in the remaining part of 2000.
Follow the CSD9 on the internet: www.un.org/esa/sustdev/(official site), www.igc.org/csdngo (NGO Caucuses).