EU renewables target: an unsustainable proposal at the Earth Summit | WWF

EU renewables target: an unsustainable proposal at the Earth Summit

Posted on 26 August 2002
Johannesburg, South Africa - WWF and Greenpeace call on EU member states to step away from their own business as usual renewables proposal at the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) and support the progressive Brazilian Energy Initiative. Over 100 governments are currently meeting at the WSSD in Johannesburg where one of the key issues is renewable energy. A number of countries have put forth proposals for a target on renewable energy. Welcomed by WWF and Greenpeace , Brazil has introduced a progressive target of 10% new renewables by 2012. The European Union�s proposed global target of 15% renewable energy by 2010, however, could create incentives for large hydropower dams and unsustainable biomass across the world. Particularly the governments of France, Sweden, Finland and Austria are very vocal in their support for large dams as part of the renewables target. "The EU should forge new paths on renewable energies such as solar, wind and sustainable biomass, instead of encouraging the use of unsustainable technologies," said Jennifer Morgan, Director of WWF Climate Change Programme . "By including large dams and unsustainable biomass in their renewables target, the EU is promoting a do nothing target," said Morgan. Renewable energy already accounts for nearly 14% of global primary energy supply according to recent International Energy Agency figures. This includes large-scale hydro (2.2%), traditional biomass (9.5%), and existing new renewables (2.2%). This confirms that the current 15% EU target is merely business as usual. "By allowing large hydropower dams to be part of a renewables energy target, the EU is killing the increase of sound renewable energy like wind and solar," said Steve Sawyer from Greenpeace. "This Earth Summit should not include new incentives for more Three Gorges Dams. France, Sweden, Finland and Austria must reconsider their positions." For further information: Jennifer Morgan Director, WWF Climate Change Programme Tel.: +1 202 3592734 E-mail: New renewable energy(2 EJ per year) is defined as modern biomass, geothermal, wind, solar energy, small hydropower, and marine energy. Modern biomass (7 EJ per year) is the use of biomass to produce electricity, steam and biofuels. This definition excludes large hydro and unsustainable "traditional biomass" (28 EJ per year) which is currently representing the largest biomass share and consists mainly of firewood and agriculture residues, and dung for cooking and heating particularly in developing countries.