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New global group puts focus on renewables

green-energyThis week saw the founding of a new global organisation — the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) — aimed at giving renewables “an international voice and political impetus,” according to Sigmar Gabriel, Germany’s Federal Environment Minister and representative to the new group.

Seventy-five nations (though neither the UK nor US) signed on as founding members of IRENA, billed as the first-ever global organisation focused solely on renewable energy. The organisation’s mission will be to “close throughout the world the gap between the enormous potential of renewables and their current relatively low market share in energy consumption.”

“With IRENA we want to assist the international breakthrough of renewables and reduce global rivalries over fossil energies and sources of supply,” said Gernot Erler, Germany’s Minister of State at the Federal Foreign Office. “The expansion of renewable energies also holds major global opportunities for the industry: Germany, with its outstanding environmental technologies, is particularly well-placed in this regard.”

IRENA’s founding, added Federal Development Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul, “sends a strong signal for joint action by the global community on an international energy policy which also gives the poorest countries access to clean energy, thus contributing to the alleviation of poverty.”

The first meeting of IRENA’s Preparatory Commission was held Tuesday. The commission plans to meet again in June to choose IRENA’s first Director-General and decide on a location for the organisation’s seat.

Why no UK or US involvement? While the US might soon come on board under the leadership of new President Barack Obama, the Guardian speculates the UK could be viewing IRENA as a usurper to the International Energy Agency, which Britain and the US helped to create.

Come on now, can’t we all play nice when it comes to the world’s energy future?

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