Where is the energy in Rio?

15 June 2012

After being energised by the magnificent rhythms and colours of Brazilian samba, ECO realised that there was something strangely missing from the official negotiation agenda: energy. Right now there are no public meetings on the energy paragraphs, and nothing is scheduled for the remainder of the conference. How can this be?

Intelligent and ambitious approaches to energy are crucial to ensure sustainable energy for all and a world free from climate chaos and dirty and risky energy. The energy section deals with a number of critical issues that mustn’t be lost, namely: sustainable energy for all, renewable energy deployment, energy access, energy efficiency, and the critical issue of fossil fuel subsidies.
Unless country delegates take the energy paragraphs seriously and make bold commitments, there is little 
hope in achieving many other goals in the Outcome Document. According to the International Renewable 
Energy Agency (IRENA), renewable technologies are now the most economic solution for off-grid electrification and grid extension in most areas, as well as for centralised grid supply in locations with good resources.
Making progress in phasing out fossil fuel subsidies could free up much needed funding from problems to putting the money into funding solutions. If even a small amount of the hundreds of billions of dollars handed out to the fossil fuel industry were redirected to renewable energy and sustainable development, Rio+20 would represent a helpful and hopeful step forward. But all of that is currently at risk of being ignored, much less realised.
ECO urges negotiators to make sure that energy issues don not disappear into the shadows at Rio+20 and instead are given the priority attention they deserve.


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