Give Solar Energy 50 Billion Boost

| September 13, 2002

Give Solar Energy $50 Billion Boost

While the United States and Canada still have not ratifyied the Kyoto Protocol, the rest of the developed world is forging ahead to develop renewable energy sources. At the recent World Summit on Sustainable Development, Mikhail Gorbachev's international environment group Green Cross recommended the development of a $50 billion fund to promote solar energy, reports Alanna Mitchell in Toronto Globe & Mail.

The plan would encourage the developed world to reduce coal, oil and gas usage, which would lower greenhouse gas emissions caused by burning fossil fuels. But the primary target is the United States, Green Cross' 'biggest obstacle' to any major step forward to clean energy.

'There is a certain culture in place in Washington which continually has its view of the future blocked by an oil-drilling rig,' said U.S. Congressman Dennis Kucinich, a member of the American delegation to the Summit.

The money for the fund would come from subsidies already paid to coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy -- estimated by the World Bank at $210 billion a year in direct financial aid, tax breaks and loan guarantees. These subsidies would be used as an initial investment in renewable energy sources such as photovoltaic cells, hydrogen, wind, and geothermal energy. Once the startup costs have been paid, production costs would be lowered, eventually ensuring that 20 percent of the world's energy is derived from clean, renewable sources.
--Rebecca Wienbar
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