Friday, November 04, 2005

Renewable energy: Commissioner Dimas to participate in major international conference in China

Making the use of energy sources such as sun, wind and water more attractive will be the focus of an international renewable energy conference hosted by the Chinese government on 7-8 November in Beijing. Environment Commissioner Stavros Dimas intends to contribute to strengthening international cooperation in this sector, which is key for achieving a sustainable energy future. While in China, Commissioner Dimas will also discuss international climate change policy and EU-China environmental cooperation with the Chinese government.

Commissioner Dimas said: "I very much welcome the Chinese government's initiative in organising this conference. It sends a clear message that emerging economies want to play a leading role in creating the conditions for renewables to thrive. The EU stands ready to contribute its know-how to developing innovative policies, instruments and public-private partnerships for accelerating renewable energy markets worldwide."

Energy Commissioner Andris Piebalgs added: "To achieve a Sustainable Energy Future, promoting renewable energy sources is essential in order to respond to world wide challenges like security of energy supply and reduction of CO2 emissions."


At the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg, heads of state agreed to urgently and significantly increase the global share of renewable energy. This agreement acknowledged the important contribution that renewable energy can make to tackling the challenges of climate change and poverty eradication.

The conference

The Beijing conference aims to build on the momentum started at the international renewable energy conference held in June 2004 in Bonn as a follow-up to the Johannesburg agreements. It also forms part of preparations for a UN conference next April that will review progress on the implementation of energy-related commitments made at the WSSD.

The Chinese government has invited ministers and high-level experts to discuss options for significantly increasing renewables' share of the market worldwide.

These include enhancing international frameworks for developing and transferring renewable technologies and creating more efficient market-based delivery mechanisms that can provide affordable and reliable energy services. Senior EU delegates to the conference include the environment ministers of the United Kingdom, current president of the Council of Ministers, and Germany.

The European Commission is an active partner in several international initiatives to promote renewable energy. Commissioner Dimas will speak during the opening session of the conference. In the margins he will hold a number of bilateral meetings to discuss preparations for the next annual climate change conference, taking place in Montreal at the end of this month, and wider EU-Chinese environmental cooperation.

He will also sign implementation agreements for the EU-China Biodiversity Programme, including a €30 million contribution from the European Commission. The programme aims to enable China's national biodiversity programme to manage its ecosystems sustainably and to contribute to the implementation of related international conventions.

EU renewable energy policy

EU Member States have agreed on indicative targets that are intended to raise renewable energy's share of EU primary energy production to 12%, and its share of the electricity market to 21%, by 2010. The EU also aims to achieve a 5.75% share of the petrol and diesel market for crop-derived biofuels by 2010. The European Commission will soon adopt an ambitious Biomass Action Plan to help ensure these targets are met.

An analysis is being carried out to enable the EU to set renewable energy targets for 2020. The results of the study are due in early 2006.


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