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News 11 Sep 07
Make energy-efficient technology mandatory, UN expert says
The best way of tackling greenhouse gas emissions is for countries to pass laws that enforce the use of existing energy-efficient technology, a UN climate change expert said Monday.
"Most of the technology needed to achieve significant reduction of greenhouse gases actually exists, doesn't have to be invented and actually is competitive commercially," said Marcel Alers from the UN Development Programme.
"The experts in this area will all tell you that voluntary is nice but if you want impact, it has to be mandatory ... And these things do not cost a lot of money," he told reporters at a climate change conference.
Governments should introduce standards and labels to phase out the use of inefficient electrical products, added Alers, who is part of the UNDP's Global Environmental Facility.
The European Union's mandatory standards on low carbon emission refrigerators are "spectacular examples" that have transformed the market in the last 10 years, Alers said.
"Energy efficiency and energy conservation provides the most cost-effective means of achieving emission reduction targets," said Alers.
The UNDP's climate change manager also said technology should focus on capturing and storing carbon emissions from burning coal, to pump back into the ground.
"It's just a fantasy to believe that we can just continue development over the next century without the use of coal. It's simply not going to happen," he said. "Coal and other fossil fuels will remain a very important part of the energy mix of all countries so we will have to find ways of dealing with that. That has to be part of the solution," he said.
The conference was held to review Malaysia's efforts to address climate change ahead of a UN meeting on the Indonesian resort island of Bali in December. The Bali meeting, gathering members of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, will strive to set a roadmap for negotiating global pollution cuts that will be implemented after 2012, when the Kyoto Protocol expires.
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