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December was a busy month on the political front. The world climate summit in Kyoto and the EU's first policy document on renewable energy both made headlines. The United Nation's third Conference of Parties on its convention for climate change stole the political limelight for several hours over a period of days during its staging in Kyoto, Japan. The final outcome -- a protocol for the major industrialised countries to reduce six greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2% -- was better than many had dared hoped for in the face of US, Australian and Japanese opposition to giving the developed world a perceived economic advantage. The wind industry now keenly awaits news on how governments intend to meet the Kyoto targets. The small wind lobby at Kyoto was made aware of the world's great ignorance of wind's proved technical and economic potential. Lack of knowledge has been identified as a major barrier to wind energy development, particularly in developing countries. The EU's long awaited White Paper for an action plan for renewables was encouragingly positive about the need to develop clean sources of energy, but lacked detailed measures for implementing its outlined strategy. The document will not be adopted for several months, though, giving plenty of room for lobbying activity in search of a meaningful Directive on renewables.

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