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Wind energy can meet 65 percent of tabled 2020 emissions cuts by rich nations: GWEC

Dec 14, 2009 - Xinhua

The Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) on Monday released calculations showing that wind energy alone could achieve up to 65 percent of the emissions reductions pledges by industrialized nations.

"Wind power is rapidly emerging as a key technology towards a low carbon, resource efficient green economy," said Achim Steiner, UN under secretary general and executive director of the UN Environment Program (UNEP), told a joint press conference of the UNEP and the GWEC in Copenhagen.

In the GWEC's most ambitious scenario for wind energy development, wind could produce 2,600 terawatt hours of power and save 1.5 billion tons of carbon dioxide in 2020, which would represent between 42 percent and 65 percent of the emissions cuts pledged by developed countries.

A UN panel of climate scientists were proposing a 25-40 percent cut in carbon emissions by rich nations by 2020 in order to keep global warming under control. According to the GWEC, global wind energy alone could contribute 34 percent of a 25 percent emissions reduction and 21 percent of a 40 percent reduction.

GWEC Secretary-General Steve Sawyer called on developed countries to "substantially" raise their pledges on emissions reduction and assistance to developing countries' emissions reduction programs.

The United States has pledged to reduce its carbon emissions by 17 percent from 2005 levels by 2020, equivalent to a reduction of 4 percent compared with 1990 levels. The European Union has committed to a reduction of 20 percent from 1990 levels and promised to raise the goal to 30 percent if others also aim high.

"The economics and the benefits of renewables and in particular wind power are becoming increasingly convincing -- Copenhagen is the moment for governments and world leaders to match this reality with convincing decisions on emission reductions, financing and technology," said Steiner.

A total of 110 heads of state and government will convene in Copenhagen later this week for a climate summit to endorse efforts on reaching a deal to fight global warming.