November 17, 2000
PAUL E METZ, is the executive director of the European Business Council for a Sustainable Energy Future. Equity Watch presents a discussion with him about Renewable energy technology.
Renewable energy has promised a lot but delivered little. Why?
The small scale of production has kept renewables too expensive. Subsidies should favour renewables, not fossil fuels. Energy related emissions are free even today. Secondly, some technologies haven't matured as yet. I guess it will take another couple of decades. Another reason for renewables not taking off in the South is the absence of the capacity building required to create technical know-how. In the North, their success is impeded by the 'over capacity' of the fossil fuel economy.
Should fossil fuel-based technologies be included in the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM)?
If we get inside the debate on which type of technologies should be included in CDM, political interests and business lobbies will try to prevent the entire process. This should be avoided. The better way to promote transfer of cleaner technology within the climate regime is to fast-track renewables and energy efficiencies.
Will CDM in its present state promote renewables?
No. CDM could turn into a clever delay mechanism. Emissions trading ought to be based on the principle of equity and every human's right to the atmosphere. Annex I countries do not need CDM to meet their Kyoto emission reduction targets. They can meet their targets through domestic action, and make energy savings to the tune of US $300 billion over the next 20 years.
Do renewables offer business opportunity in the South?
Yes. There is a great demand for energy. The Sun shines, the wind blows, the only thing preventing renewables is right pricing mechanisms.