Issue Date: October 29, 2007
Global Panel Offers Energy Advice
A greater worldwide emphasis on energy efficiency, renewable energy sources, and development of technologies to capture and sequester CO2 are among the recommendations in the report of an international science panel. Charged with setting a direction for global energy development, a panel of the InterAcademy Council, made up of the presidents of 15 national academies of science, strongly focused on the need to provide energy for the developing world without repeating the mistakes of the developed world. They urge national leaders, international energy experts, and funding institutions to support "leapfrog" energy technologies that avoid the pollution and inefficiencies of the past. Sustainable energy solutions, they say, are imperative to meet the basic energy needs of the 2.4 billion people who lack basic modern energy sources and use coal, dung, and firewood to cook. Among nine recommendations, the report emphasizes use of biofuels to avoid dependence on oil and natural gas, which hold the inherent problems of geopolitical tensions and high carbon emissions. Thanks to improvements in agriculture, the report says, energy crops could be developed while still meeting the food needs of 9 billion people. The report also urges establishment of a global levy on CO2 emissions and backs nuclear power but only if cost, safety, and weapons proliferation concerns are addressed. "Lighting the Way: Toward a Sustainable Energy Future" is available at www.interacademycouncil.net.
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