Energy experts urged governments to adopt cleaner and more efficient ways of producing power and to use renewable sources and new technologies to ensure supplies and protect the environment.
Professor Jose Goldemberg of Sao Paolo University in Brazil told an international environment conference that current methods of producing, distributing and using energy were contributing to global warming and degrading eco-systems.
“Eighty per cent of energy used today comes from fossil fuels and if you burn fossil fuels there is no way out. You produce carbon dioxide (CO2) and that pollutes the atmosphere,” he told a press conference at the World Conservation Union (IUCN) Congress.
Goldemberg, the chair of the World Energy Assessment initiative which produced a UN report on the world's energy systems, said changes in public policy and private sector initiatives could ensure both high levels of energy services and a cleaner environment.
Current energy systems were not sustainable, he said. They created social and security problems and damaged the environment and human health. Recent protests and blockades in Europe over high fuel prices illustrated why changes were needed, he added.
“The solutions are to use energy more efficiently, which means that the present reserves will last longer, to use renewable energies whenever possible and to look at the new technologies that are emerging that offer great promise.”
With current methods used to convert raw materials to energy, 63 per cent of the energy was dissipated, mainly as heat.
“If you take one gallon of oil, what you get out of it is only a third of the energy content of that gallon,” Goldemberg said.
Renewable sources of power, such as solar energy, wind power and hydro-power could expand energy services without any major environmental impacts.
Richard Ottinger of the Energy Project at Pace University in New York, emphasised the importance of energy efficiency. “It is one of the most economic solutions,” he said.
Switching from normal to compact fluorescent lightbulbs and using more efficient electrical motors with variable speeds were simple examples of energy efficiency, Ottinger added.
The Congress of the IUCN, an umbrella group of environmental institutions and agencies, is the largest meeting of its kind held in the Middle East. An estimated 2,000 environmentalists, scientists and policy-makers are attending the eight-day meeting that began on Wednesday.
( Jordan Times )
By Patricia Reaney
© 2000 Mena Report (www.menareport.com)