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Climate change experts 'lose faith' in renewable technology

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« on: December 09, 2008, 10:49:18 pm »

Climate change experts 'lose faith' in renewable technology

Specialists less optimistic that wind, solar and hydro power have 'high potential' to solve climate crisis, survey showsDavid Adam in Poznan, Tuesday December 9 2008 15.00 GMT Article historySupport for renewable energy technology to fight global warming is weakening in the face of worldwide economic problems and the true scale of the carbon reductions required, a survey published today has suggested.

Figures presented at the UN climate talks in Poznan, Poland, show that climate experts have less faith in alternative energy than they did 12 months ago.

The survey shows less support for wind energy, solar power, biofuels, biomass and hydrogen energy as technologies with "high potential" to reduce carbon levels in the atmosphere over the next 25 years.

There was also less support for carbon capture and storage, new nuclear build, small-scale hydropower and natural gas stations as viable ways to hit targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Eric Whan of Globescan, which carried out the survey of "climate decision makers", said: "As the climate crisis deepens they could be becoming less optimistic that individual technologies may be able to solve the problem."

The survey, supported by groups including the World Bank, the United Nations Environment Programme and the Pew Centre for Global Climate Change, questioned 1,000 senior figures across governments, pressure groups and companies in 115 countries over the last few weeks.

Almost three-quarters of the experts agreed in the survey that "equitable economic growth and development and significant progress in combating climate change can be achieved at the same time".

Asked to rate the likely success of low-carbon technologies in the mid-term, they showed less confidence than a similar survey 12 months ago. Support for offshore wind farms, the bedrock for ambitious UK renewable energy plans, was down to 61%, from 65% last year. Solar electricity generation was rated as having high-potential by 66% of respondents, down from 74%. Support for hydrogen power was 32%, down from 36% in 2007.

The respondents also warned that a deep recession would make a new global deal on climate harder to achieve. Some 44% agreed that the current economic crisis will significantly delay or compromise the "achievement of effective climate change agreements".

Yvo de Boer, executive secretary of the UN climate secretariat, said the Poznan talks were edging towards an agreement on how rich countries could pay to help developing nations adapt to the effects of climate change. "On adaptation I would say the glass is two-thirds full," he said.

But he said this week's talks were unlikely to agree a long-term goal for overall carbon reductions by 2050.

The Poznan negotiations aim to set the stage for a new global treaty of climate change to succeed the Kyoto protocol to be agreed in Copenhagen at a meeting this time next year.

De Boer said: "We're at a very important moment in time, and at a very important moment of political stock taking."
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