An image from the Wake-up Call app
The global temperature is rising. Freak weather events are multiplying. Climate change is happening.
And yet governments are giving $6 to polluting fossil fuels for every $1 dollar that goes to clean renewables.
World leaders must move now to renewable, clean energy sources like wind energy. And with the new Global Wind Day app you can tell them to do it and why.
On 17 and 18 June, leaders of the governments of the world’s eight wealthiest countries are meeting in the UK. The leaders of these countries, such as Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin, Angela Merkel and François Hollande, are ultimately responsible for the continuing and growing support for dirty fossil fuels given by their governments. Such subsidies are up nearly 30% from 2010 to $523bn in 2011 (IEA, 2012) compared to $88bn for renewables.
Ambassador Tom Hanney
Irish Ambassador to the European Union Tom Hanney is in the throes of a six month stint at the heart of decision making in Brussels, as Ireland currently holds the EU Presidency. The Deputy Permanent Representative says holding the Presidency is “a marathon, from January to June”. We met him to find out about Irish commitments to wind energy and why they have given so much support to Global Wind Day this year.
What motivated the Irish Presidency of the EU to support Global Wind Day 2013?
From a national point of view, wind energy is very important to Ireland. In the Irish government’s Renewable Energy Strategy, wind is identified as a key resource.
We have a lot of wind sweeping over the country given our geographical location. An increasing amount of our energy is produced from wind. We are committed to reaching our renewable energy targets under EU energy policy and we will be a net wind exporter. Overall, wind is a very important resource for Ireland and an increasing one, so therefore we support Global Wind Day.
Ireland is not on track for EU emissions targets and the reductions, but is well on track for our 20:20:20 commitment – that 20% of your energy has to be produced from renewable energy sources by 2020. We are at around 18% at the moment.
Do you think the EU needs 2030 renewable energy targets, similar to the 2020 targets?
A new opinion poll conducted in Austria has found that 77% of Austrians are in favour of wind energy compared to just 4% in favour of fossil fuels and 1% for nuclear power.
The poll, published on 8 May by the Austrian Wind Energy Association, IG Windkraft, also found that Austrian’s are prepared to pay €25 per year for wind energy – five times the level they currently pay.
“Austrians want an energy transition and wish for the expansion of wind power,” said Stefan Moidl, Managing Director of IG Windkraft.
In association with Global Wind Day, photographer Robert van Waarden travels to three different communities in Romania that have been inspired by wind energy. Read their stories below, and think about submitting your own wind energy inspired story and photo to the Global Wind Day 2013 photo competition which closes on 12 May!
Mayor of Progresu and Fácáeni
Roşu Nuţi was born in Progresu and has been the mayor here for 10 years. Her ambitious spirit is apparent the moment she walks in a room and if you need proof of how hard she works, one glance at her overflowing desk should help.
When Roşu first heard about the plan to construct a 44 turbine wind farm in the community, she immediately saw the benefits. However, as is always the case with something new in a community, there was some confusion and pessimism among the citizens.
Roşu spent a lot of energy organising and convincing the village that this was a good idea. Eventually they came around and ground will be broken on the project this year.
For Progresu and Fácáeni the money injected into the local economy will have a clear benefit. Infrastructure here is underdeveloped: roads are poor and horse-and-cart is still the mode of transport for many. Any local jobs that are created will be welcome in a village with an unemployment rate of 45%.
“The earth won’t be able to give us fossil fuels for eternity, and when we take into account the nuclear plant nearby, we prefer to have a field of turbines,” says Roşu.
The reason fossil fuel firms are not trying to reduce their carbon emissions could be due to uncertainty on climate and energy policy, suggests the Economist in a recent editorial.
The paper cites cuts in renewable energy support schemes as one of the elements influencing investors. “Companies are betting that government climate policies will fail.”
This is exactly what EWEA has been warning for many months:
“The financial and economic crisis has provoked a wave of uncertainty across the European Union since 2010, with national governments making damaging retroactive changes to policies and regulations for wind energy.”
The Economist added that in mid-April the European Parliament voted against attempts to shore up Europe’s emissions trading system, the world’s largest carbon market, against collapse.