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Wind power could slash CO2 emissions significantly
Published in The Saudi Gazette on 22 - 11 - 2008

Wind power could produce 16 percent of the world's energy needs and save 10-billion tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) within 12 years, according to a new report.
“Global Wind Energy Outlook 2008”, published by the Global Wind Energy Council (GWEC) and Greenpeace International, examined the global potential of wind power up to 2050 and found that it could play a key part in achieving the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) require-ment for a decline in emissions by 2020 to avoid the worst consequences of climate change.
The report examines the potential for wind power development around the world up to 2050 and explains how wind energy can provide up to 30 percent of the world's electricity by the middle of the century. More importantly, wind power could save as much as 1.5-billion tons of CO2 every year by 2020. By then, global emissions will need to peak and start declining to avoid the worst consequences of climate change, according to the IPCC.
“We have just over a decade to achieve a decline in global CO2 emissions and wind power is going to have to play a major part in that. No other technology can come close to delivering the power without emissions in the time available,” said GWEC secretary-general Steve Sawyer.
“It is the only reliable energy technology ready for massive deployment now but governments have to act decisively to make this happen.” It is not surprising that the report was launched at the Global Wind Power conference, in Beijing, at the end of October. China has the world's fastest-growing wind power market and is expected to become the biggest manufacturer of wind energy equipment by the end of 2009.
The report explores three different scenarios for wind power: a reference scenario, based on figures from the International Energy Agency; a moderate version, which assumes that current targets for renewable energy are successful; and an advanced scenario, which assumes that all policy options in favor of renewable energy have been adopted. These are then set against two demand projections for global energy demand.
Wind energy has already become a mainstream power generation source in the main regions around the world, and it is being deployed in over 70 countries. In addition to environmental benefits, wind energy also provides a sustainable answer to increasing concerns about security of energy supply and volatile fossil fuel prices. Moreover, wind energy is becoming a substantial factor in economic development, providing more than 350,000 “green collar” jobs today, in both direct and indirect employment. By 2020, this figure is projected to increase to over two million.
The existing power sector emits about 40 percent of global CO2 emissions and there are only three options to substantially reduce these emissions between now and 2020: energy efficiency, fuel switching, and renewables, predominantly wind power.
“Greenpeace expects wind power to play a leading role in a fuel-free electricity generation of the future. “Without wind power, we won't be able to cut global emissions by the necessary levels,” said Greenpeace International senior energy expert Sven Teske.
The report is based on Greenpeace's new “Energy/Revolution scenarios”, which shows that wind power can make a real difference between now and 2020.
“We urge governments to support wind power with a robust climate agreement, the necessary electricity market reforms and by cutting down subsidies for fossil fuels and nuclear energy.” “This report demonstrates that wind technology is not a dream for the future - it is working now, and it can be deployed on a large scale very rapidly,” said GWEC chairperson Arthouros Zervos.
“The political choices of the coming years will determine the world's environmental and economic situation for many decades to come. “The wind industry stands ready to do its part in what the United Nations secretary-general has described as the defining struggle of the twenty-first century. With sufficient political will and the right frameworks, it could do even more.” A coalition of wind companies, associations and nongovernmental organizations will launch a campaign at the climate meeting in Pozna, Poland, in December, to increase government action on wind energy. Entitled “Wind Power Works”, the campaign will run for a year until the COP 15 climate talks in Copenhagen in December 2009.


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