Green electricity scheme to help cut EU's global warming pollutionBrussels, Belgium - Europe's businesses and public institutions could cut their carbon dioxide emissions by an amount equal to the emissions of Denmark by buying 'green' electricity said WWF, the conservation organization, today at the launch of a new campaign.
A new report from WWF (The Role of Businesses and Governmental Bodies in Promoting Green Electricity) that accompanies the start of the campaign says that if European businesses purchased an additional 10 per cent of their electricity from clean 'green' sources, emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would be cut by 38 million tonnes per year. If Europe's public institutions went even further and bought an additional 30 per cent of their power from 'green' sources, including the wind, sun, and biomass, it would prevent a further 18 million tonnes of CO2 from adding to the blanket of global warming gases around the planet. The total pollution cut � 56 million tonnes � would be roughly equivalent to CO2 emissions from Denmark in 1998 or to the annual emissions of 18 large coal power stations.
"Businesses and public bodies have an important role in helping beat global warming," said Giulio Volpi, Renewable Energy Policy Officer in WWF's European Policy Office. "Their investment and spending power can accelerate the rapidly developing market for clean energy in Europe. This is a chance for them to show they are in tune with public concern about solving this problem."
Businesses accounted for about 38 per cent of the electricity consumed in the EU in 1999, while public institutions used just over 6 per cent, says WWF.
WWF has teamed up with other environmental and consumer organizations to form the European Green Electricity Network (EUGENE), a new initiative that promotes common standards for 'green' electricity in Europe. EUGENE is attempting to remedy the confusing situation for electricity users that arises from several labelling bodies in Europe each having its own criteria and certification for 'green' electricity.
WWF's campaign focuses on the five European nations that are the leading producers of electricity - France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK - which together generated three quarters of the EU's power in 1999. Germany and the UK are among the countries that already allow all consumers, including businesses and local authorities to choose their electricity suppliers in switching to 'green' electricity. In France, Italy and Spain all non-residential consumers will be able to choose their power supplier in 2004. However, there is nothing preventing suppliers from offering 'green' electricity to their existing consumers.
While 'green' power markets have been growing rapidly in some countries such as the Netherlands and Germany, they are nonetheless starting from a very low base. WWF believes it is vital that a market "pull" complements the political "push" for clean energy in all countries.
"WWF also wants to see additional moves by governments," said Giulio Volpi. "Consumers have a right to know about energy sources and levels of pollution associated with the electricity they buy. It�s also time that policy makers promote public procurement of green power."
For further information contact:
Giulio Volpi, Renewable Energy Policy Officer, WWF European Policy Office, Tel: +32 2 743 8818
Angelina Hermanns, Press Officer, WWF European Policy Office, Tel: + 32 2 740 0952
Download the full WWF report, The Role of Businesses and Governmental Bodies in Promoting Green Electricity