|Sustainable Energy News - No. 21 May 1998 (INFORSE, 1998, 20 p.)|
hus '98 and ECO-Forum, June 20-26
List of energy related events at the Pan-European Environmental Ministers' meeting, 'hus'98', including NGO events (ECO-Forum):
· Saturday, June 20: Opening of NGO Exhibition on environment, sustainable energy, etc.; NGO Environment and Health Workshop.
· Sunday, June 21: ECO-Forum Meeting, open meeting of the environmental NGOs to set a final strategy for the Ministers' Meeting, future of the ECO-Forum, meetings of the issue groups.
· Monday, June 22: Expert Meeting to discuss future energy conservation activities in Europe; organised by Danish Energy Agency.
· Tuesday, June 23: Ministerial Conference; Parallel NGO Workshop on Energy Conservation
· Wednesday, June 24: Ministerial Conference with NGO dialogue. Session on Public Participation in decision-making.
· Thursday, June 25: Ministerial Conference, energy conservation issue; Parallel NGO Workshop on Renewable Energy Intemet Education
· Friday, June 26: INFORSE-Europe Meeting.
This year, the Annual Meeting of INFORSE-Europe will take place on June 26 in hus, Denmark. This will be the major event of the network, where all members are invited to discuss the future activities of the network and participate in the starting up of new activities.
Major points will be:
· The worldwide INFORSE Action Plan and CSD9 (INFORSE has been invited to take part in the UN discussion leading to the meeting of the Commission of Sustainable Development (CSD) in 2001.)
· Lobbying the EU.
· Future INFORSE participation in the official European Energy Conservation activities.
· Electronic Renewable Energy Education (a proposal to develop a high-level education program on renewable energy, to be distributed via e-mail and WWW).
· NGO sustainable energy strategies.
· New strategy of INFORSE.
(Update of the 7-year-old strategy on which INFORSE is based)
All lNFORSE members in Europe will be invited to the meeting directly.
NGO Workshop on Energy Conservation, June 23
Parallel to the official 'hus98' event, INFORSE-Europe, along with the ECO-Forum's energy and climate group, will hold a workshop on NGO participation in energy conservation, including discussion of successes in sustainable energy NGO projects. The workshop will consist of:
· Presentation of successes in sustainable energy in Central and Eastern Europe.
· Presentation of new INFORSE-Europe publication on the successes. Discussion of future NGO work on sustainable energy success/case database and documentation.
· Presentation and debate on the official energy conservation initiative and on future activities at national and international levels.
· Discussion of NGO involvement in the future activities.
· Future activities of the energy and climate issue group.
For further information: INFORSE-Europe.
The NGO events will be at Brobjergskolen: an adult education center, (left) just on the other side of the street where the official events will take place at the Conference Center (right) in hus.
By Gunnar Boye Olesen,
For more than a year, an official process has been developing guidelines for energy conservation. Now, these efforts have produced a Whitebook and a set of guidelines for European energy conservation. These papers were approved by the UN-ECE Committee on Environmental Policy this March. They will finally be approved by the Environmental Ministers at 'hus'98'.
NGOs Made a Difference
By following the development of the official energy conservation initiative, we as NGOs have had large opportunities to influence the work. From the main NGO paper on the issue, "NGO Visions for a European Energy Conservation Strategy", we have developed more concrete proposals on specific issues, some of which have been adopted, e.g., the idea of a small energy/CO2 tax in central and eastern European countries to raise revenues for energy efficiency and renewable energy activities. In many ways, the guideline gives a good basis for national and international energy conservation activities in Europe, and goes beyond previous international agreements in the field, e.g., the Energy Efficiency Protocol to the Energy Charter Treaty.
Not a Perfects Result
Still, the outcome of this process could be much better. It will only be a guideline and a paper that the countries can follow; it imposes no obligations. Also, the guidelines and the whole process have put too much emphasis on the European Energy Charter, which is made for increased energy trade and has no NGO participation.
With the non-bonding guidelines almost in place, it is time to think about follow-up. From the task force that developed the guidelines come proposals of more than 20 follow-up activities, mainly strengthening international cooperation on different energy conservation activities: integrating external costs in energy pricing, a common labeling system for energy-consuming apparatus, cogeneration of heat and power, evaluation of employment in energy transition, etc.
As NGOs we should also think of a more visionary follow-up than the officially proposed "digging down in details." We would like more renewable energy and energy efficiency to be realized.
One of the ways is to impose more binding obligations on the countries, following the lines of the present nonbonding guideline. This could be achieved after hus'98 if this process leads up to a prime-ministers' summit, in which case energy ministers could be involved as well.
The involved NGOs and networks (such as INFORSE-Europe) have coordinated their activities in the energy and climate group of the European ECO-Forum.
To join this group, contact INFORSE-Europe. at e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Will ten prime ministers around the Baltic Sea go for sustainable development in June?
By Gunnar Boye Olesen,
What are the visions for sustainable development in a region of industrialised countries? This question was raised by the prime ministers of the 10 countries around the Baltic Sea when they met in 1996. Now, almost two years later, more or less clear pictures appear for the seven sectors that were analysed since then in intergovernmental discussions.
In the energy sector, the vision of the process follows a "sustainable development scenario" with phase-out of nuclear power and reduction of CO2 emissions by 30% in 1995-2030. This official scenario involves increased use of cogeneration of heat and power, a shift from coal to gas, renewable energy, and an increase in energy efficiency.
The scenario includes economic growth both east and west of the former iron curtain, but by far the most growth is estimated in the eastern parts, leading to almost a closing of the income gap between east and west by the year 2030. This growth imposes additional demands for energy services, as well as increased costs. However, it is estimated that the district heat and electricity prices can be kept stable and that the overall cost of the energy supply can be reduced from 7% of GNP to 4% of GNP.
NGOs for More Reductions
INFORSE-Europe, Friends of the Earth, and the Coalition Clean Baltic participated as NGO networks in the process.
As NGOs, we had to conclude that the "sustainable development scenario", described above, is not sufficient to support sustainable development with equal opportunities for the developing world.
50% vs 30% CO2 Reduction
If we want sustainable development with global CO2 reductions of 50% by the middle of the next century, we have to reduce the CO2 emissions in the industrialised countries by 80-90% by 2050 and 50-80% by 2030. This would allow the developing countries to raise their living standards, which, even if done efficiently, will increase CO2 emissions. Such a CO2 reduction by industrialized nations will lead to stabilisation of the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, and will probably limit the global warming to +1°C during the next century. If the climate change is limited to this level, we will avoid the mass destruction of ecosystems that more warming could bring, and only a few islanders will have to pack up and leave their flooded is lands.(1)
(1)With these reductions it will he possible to keep global emissions below the IPCC low-emission scenario (IS92c) and warming probably below 1°C.
High Efficiency is Solution
The official 30% CO2-reduction scenario is based on the assumption that 20% increase in energy efficiency can be achieved by 2030 for all countries, except for the industrial sectors that have higher estimates (30% reductions in the West, 50% in the East) and for electricity consumption in households, where no efficiency gain is foreseen. The last is due to an expected increase in electrical appliances, eating up the efficiency gains. Even for Western Europe, these assumptions are very conservative for the long time period between now and 2030. For Eastern Europe, it is generally agreed that the efficiency potentials are far higher. A rough estimate shows that a 40% increase in energy efficiency, instead of 20%, will yield about a 50% CO2 emission reduction rather than 30%. In the above scenario, the price for the energy efficiency measures is estimated to be about 2/3 of the cost of providing the energy. Unfortunately, the official scenario does not include detailed studies of the energy consuming sectors. Based on other studies, it is quite realistic to assume that an energy efficiency gain of more than 40% can be achieved by 2030 for less than 2/3 of the energy supply costs (2). With this assumption, development with a CO2 reduction of 50% or more is possible at a price lower than that of the 30% CO2 reduction described above, and still includes phase-out of nuclear power.
(2) A good description of energy efficiency potentials can be found in the book of "Factor Four, Doubling Wealth, Halving Resource use" Earthscan Publications, London 1997.
This would be a real sustainable development vision.
Now, the officials of the ten Baltic Sea countries are discussing the recommendation to the prime ministers who will meet in June. From NGOs, we will propose that the real sustainable development vision with at least 50% CO2 reduction be adopted by the prime ministers as their long-term vision.
INFORSE-Europe, Gl. Kirkevej 56,
8539 Hjortshoj, Denmark.
Anyone can organise a SunDay event. Everyone benefits.
SunDay is one day each year for Europe to discover the potential of renewable energy and to celebrate the power of the sun. All events are organised locally, coordinated nationally via National Liaison Officers, and publicized across Europe.
The SunDay initiative of ISES-Europe, the European Unit of the International Solar Energy Society, is supported by networks of nongovernmental associations, including INFORSE, as well as by trade associations, the European Union, and governmental networks.