Energy ministers push growth of renewable energy
( dpa ) - World energy ministers turned their attention to the development of renewable energy sources, such as solar power and ethanol, vowing to encourage investment in the technologies at a conference in Washington on Tuesday.
At the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC), US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman announced an 18.4-million- dollar investment in research and development for biofuels and other plant-based products to combat climate change.
"We are seeing a convergence of forces that tells me our world is on the way to a cleaner energy future," Bodman said, stressing the impact of high oil prices on the economy and the volatility of reliance on fuel from the Middle East and other regions.
But despite Bodman's calls for a global consensus on reducing greenhouse gas emissions after the Kyoto Protocol on climate change expires in 2012, other participants took the US to task for its perceived foot dragging on the issue.
Hermann Scheer, a German politician who heads the World Council for Renewable Energy, expressed frustration with the ongoing conferences such as this one, which he dubbed "globally talking and nationally postponing."
Instead, he calle for action regardless of the consensus - and in the next breath, invited participants to a meeting in Berlin in April to establish a new international organization focused on renewable energies.
WIREC is the third such gathering after similar meetings in 2004 in Bonn and a 2005 follow-up in Beijing. Bonn participants for the first time agreed to an international "action plan" to foster renewables - a series of non-binding commitments put forward by participating countries and businesses.