The European Union today announced that it is forming a coalition of like-minded countries and regions committed to increasing their use of renewable energies through quantified, time-bound targets. The initiative was announced at the World Summit on Sustainable Develoment in Johannesburg by European Environment Commissioner Margot Wallström and the EU Presidency, Mr Hans Christian Schmidt, Environment Minister of Denmark as a key means of implementing yesterday's Summit agreement that the global share of renewable energy sources should urgently be substantially increased.
Minister Schmidt and Commissioner Wallström said: "The World Summit has shown that energy, like water, is at the very core of the development agenda, but for development to be sustainable that energy needs to be clean. Increasing the use of clean renewable energy will have multiple benefits for rich and poor countries alike, from cutting the emissions that are changing the global climate to improving the health of millions in the developing world who have to breathe the smoke of their wood-fired stoves."
They continued: "Setting time-bound targets for boosting the share of renewable energy, as the European Union and others have done, will give us a clearer timeframe for delivering the substantial increase to which the international community has committed itself here in Johannesburg."
They added: "The initial response to our initiative from those with whom we have already discussed it has been extremely positive. African, Latin American, Caribbean and other European countries have all shown interest, and we will be talking to others in the coming days. I am extremely pleased to see that so many are interested in forming a 'coalition of the willing' to translate the Summit's commitment into firm targets."
The renewable energy initiative announced today is in addition to a major EU partnership initiative on energy, launched on 1 September, aimed at improving access for people in developing countries to adequate, affordable and sustainable energy services.