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Zimbabwe

Zimbabwe

MUGABE CALLS FOR MAJOR COMMITMENT

Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is calling on governments to commit themselves to meeting 40% of energy needs through renewables like wind and solar by the year 2020, signalling that the future potential for renewables is indeed greatest in the Third World.

In a sign that the future potential for renewables is indeed greatest in the Third World, Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe is calling on governments to commit themselves to meeting 40% of energy needs through renewables like wind and solar by the year 2020. Speaking on September 12, Mugabe was addressing more than 500 solar scientists from 55 countries gathered for a conference in Harare.

Renewables experts also reaffirmed his appeal for the world's political leaders to back technologies that would develop the use of solar energy as a non-polluting power source. "Political will is the key, it's the issueÉThe technology is there, the economics are closeÉIt's the politicians that can make this work. The scientists cannot make it work," said Peter Dearlove of the International Solar Energy Society (ISES). "What we are hoping is that governments of the world will recognise the cost of the other energy sourcesÉRenewable energy is cheaper if you take into account that oil and coal are very expensive in terms of what they are doing to the planet and to people."

He said the world should move to renewable and non-polluting energy sources because fossil fuels are running out and their use harms the environment. The conference revealed statistics showing that known world oil reserves could run out in the next 45 years, natural gas in 67 years and coal in 240 years. "The developed world is going to be using up energy in the next ten years faster and faster," said Michael Nicklas, ISES president. Developing countries -- three-quarters of which were net importers of oil -- had to move away from fossil fuels to solar power if they were to reduce debt now exceeding $1.8 trillion, he added.

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