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Over 450 people from more than 100 countries converged on Reading, UK, for the World Renewable Energy Congress, September 12-16. Over 270 papers were presented covering all the renewable technologies. The theme of this year's congress was climate change and a clear division of delegates soon emerged. On one side were the renewable energy enthusiasts, convinced that global warming is a major threat and on the other were sceptics who believe the issue is overplayed. Included in their number was the pro-nuclear and fossil fuel faction who tend to question the contribution of renewables. A general consensus emerged, however, that stabilisation of C02 emissions, let alone a reduction, will be difficult unless governments take more drastic action. This could include introducing a carbon tax, imposing further penalties on fossil fuel use and providing incentives for renewables. Former Indian Environment Minister Monita Gandhi's call for appropriate and simple technologies for Third World countries, backed up by adequate instruction in their use, was echoed by many speakers.

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