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Poland

Poznan leaves wind lobby frustrated -- Climate change talks

The wind industry had a significant presence at last month's major gathering of world governments in Poznan, Poland, to discuss a new international agreement on containing climate change. But despite the success of the Wind Pavilion and Wind Power Works campaigns, wind lobby representatives left Poznan frustrated at the lack of progress towards agreeing a successor to the Kyoto climate change treaty when it expires in 2012.

"We have seen very little concrete progress coming out of the Poznan talks, and time is not on our side," says Steve Sawyer of the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC). Governments must pick up the pace of negotiations before the UN's climate change summit in Copenhagen at the end of the year when a new treaty is to be agreed.

"Clean energy businesses have a crucial role to play in achieving climate protection goals, but we need strong signals that governments intend to establish a clear and stable policy framework," says Sawyer. "Governments need to understand that their delaying tactics and bickering over minor details threaten billions in investment that could be mobilised to help avoid the worst damages of global climate change."

GWEC points out that global investment in the wind sector could rise from EUR 34 billion for 2008 to EUR 150 billion by 2020. In turn, installed wind capacity could be scaled up from the current 100 GW to over 1000 GW by 2020, providing 2600 TWh of clean, fuel-free electricity every year. This would result in a reduction of 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions by 2020, providing a substantial contribution to combating climate change. "In order to secure this investment, however, the sector needs full political commitment from governments and a robust agreement in Copenhagen," says GWEC's Arthouros Zervos.

Hypocrisy

Environmental groups blamed the lack of progress on the unwillingness of rich countries to pass tough policies at home or help the developing world shift to greener energy use. "Industrialised countries preached sermons about the importance of climate protection in the Poznan plenary while lacking or attacking policies to make it happen at home, a serious sign of climate hypocrisy. These countries need to get serious about greening their economies and they need to provide know-how, funding and technology to developing countries," said Kim Carstensen from the World Wildlife Fund.

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