On 1 July Croatia became the 28th member of the EU. The country has started investing in wind power – indeed it is the leader of the western Balkan region, with 193.75 MW of wind turbines in operation at the end of 2012. However a new report underlines that international financial institutions must offer more support for renewables rather than fossil fuels if Croatia and its Balkan neighbours are ever to catch up with the renewable energy capacity of other EU states.
According to the report, Invest in Haste, Repent at leisure, published by civil society organisations CEE Bankwatch Network, SEE Change Net and WWF, Europe’s development banks are spending 32 times more on fossil fuels than on non-hydropower renewable energy sources in the western Balkan region. This trend means that the western Balkan countries are heading in the opposite direction of the EU goals on climate change for the years 2020, 2030 and 2050, says the report.
Government and financial institutions around the world must pledge to invest at least US$40 billion (€30.6 billion) in renewable energy over the next 12 months as a way of fighting climate change, according to a campaign launched this week by the environmental NGO the WWF.
“We are running out of time,” says Jim Leape, director general of WWF International, launching the campaign Seize Your Power. “We know that if we continue to rely on fossil fuels we will face a future of worsening air pollution and an increasingly inhospitable climate. It is now our collective responsibility to commit to the future we want. We call on political and financial decision-makers to seize their power to make the switch to clean and sustainable renewable energy and end the inertia of coal, oil and gas.”
Anyone and everyone can sign the pledge on the WWF’s website to encourage governments and financial institutions to put their money where their mouth is, and promise greater funds for wind, solar and water power. The campaign will run in 20 countries around the world and be targeted at public finance, pension funds and sovereign wealth funds.
The European Union could achieve 100% renewable energy by 2050 “at the latest” if ambitious renewable energy targets for 203o are agreed, WWF has said in a new report.
By 2030 the EU could be generating more than 40% of its energy from renewable sources, said the report, Re-energising Europe: Putting the EU on Track for 100% Renewable Energy.
Based on research by Ecofys, the report provides policy makers dealing with the continued economic crisis a strong reminder that investing in wind power and other renewables while also agreeing to binding targets until 2030 makes good fiscal and environmental sense.
“Europe has significant untapped potential for cutting energy use and maximising indigenous power sources that could deliver cheaper and more secure energy,” said the report, which called renewable energy a beacon of hope.
Wind and other renewable energies must be given immediate priority over fossil fuels and nuclear power if the EU is serious about its commitment to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 80-95% by 2050, says a new report by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF). Without such action the EU will only manage a 40% cut in emissions by 2050, warns the NGO.
“The spiralling economic, social and environmental cost of our current energy system, and the looming threat of climate change disaster, flip the burden of proof: anything other than sustainable renewables used efficiently should now have to justify their existence, not the other way around as has historically been the case,” says Jason Anderson, head of climate and energy at WWF’s European Policy Office.
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Recently some national governments in Europe have made changes to their support mechanisms for renewable energies that have created an environment of insecurity for the wind energy sector. However, a new report by the WWF says that such policies create needed certainty for renewable energy investors, backing up a view held by EWEA.
Uncertainty about future policy support for renewable energy in key markets such as the UK, Italy and France has contributed to a notable drop in investment levels across the EU. However, On Picking Winners, a report written by Dr Rob Gross of Imperial College London, argues that given the numerous benefits of renewable energy, it is vital that the EU and its member state governments provide the support needed to ensure it plays its full part in decarbonising the EU’s energy system.
“Without targeted and proportionate policies supporting our renewables industry, we will miss out on the opportunity rapidly to reduce the costs of emerging renewable technologies, and will fail to capitalise on the promising economic growth opportunities that the sector has to offer in the EU,” says Imke Lübbeke, Senior Renewable Energy Policy Officer at WWF European Policy Office.