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close this bookGATE - 2/96 - Renewable Energy and Solar Energy Use (GTZ GATE, 1996, 52 p.)
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Dear readers

The well known British magazine "The Economist" recently took a stand for "renewables": "Once it was the province of mad scientists and dreamers (...). No longer. Little noticed, the costs of many renewables have recently been tumbling. Fossil fuels are still almost always cheaper. But a battle has begun on the fringe of the mighty $1-trillion-a-year-fossil-fuel industry that could force it into retreat early in the coming century".

Pressure is also coming from environmental politicians. Threatening scenarios put forward by the UN Climate Panel "IPCC" are demonstrating the vital need to reduce CO2 emissions. Industrial nations must accept their prime role here. They account for 80% of world energy consumption and produce 75% of the emissions of the major climate killers.

In the newly industralized nations of East Asia awareness of the global dangers is also growing. Estimates suggest that more than half of the growth in energy demand between now and the year 2010 will come from Asia. Energy and environmental protection are on the economic agenda in these regions.

Our focus shows that rational use of energy can be a first step towards the global energy policy turnaround. The hypothesis that higher prosperity requires energy consumption to grow at the same rate has proven to be a illusion. On the contrary: careful use of fuels is an economically efficient approach.

Renewables are now becoming an efficient option, as our practical examples show: solar cookers, solar driers, solar water pumps and the example of the household energy programme which is playing an important role in solving the energy crisis of the poor.

Peter Bosse-Brekenfeld