WASHINGTON, March 6 (Xinhua) -- Participants from more than 100 countries concluded their discussions on Thursday at the three-day Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008), pledging to promote renewable energy.
More than 2,800 delegates from 119 countries, along with nearly 3,000 other participants came to discuss ways their countries could develop renewable energy, promote sustainable development, and reduce greenhouse emissions.
The meeting launched the Washington International Action Program (WIAP). By the end of the conference, countries, sub-national authorities, private-sector and non-government organizations made more than 100 pledges of concrete ways to drive up renewable energy and enhance energy efficiency.
For example, Cape Verde was committed to increasing renewable sources of energy to 50 percent of market share by 2020, and to having one island running completely on renewable energy by that time. New Zealand also set an ambitious goal of producing 90 percent of their electricity from renewables by 2025, while the Council of the European Union volunteered to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by a minimum of 20 percent by 2020.
WIREC 2008 will be accepting pledges for the WIAP until April 4,2008. Renewable Energy Policy Network for the 21st Century (REN 21) will be monitoring the status of pledge implementation and providing reports periodically.
"One of the messages that really permeated the last day of WIREC was that renewables are a key element of our broader strategy to address the challenges of energy security and climate change," said Paula Dobriansky, under-secretary for Democracy and Global Affairs, U.S. State Department.
U.S. President George W. Bush addressed the ministers attending WIREC on Wednesday and laid out the U.S. strategy for reducing oil use in America.
"America has got to change its habits. We've got to get off oil. Dependency on oil presents a real challenge to our economy," said Bush. It also presents a challenge to the national security of the United States, he said. In 1985, 20 percent of America's oil came from abroad. "Today that number is nearly 60 percent," said the president.
The Bush administration has set a big goal to reduce its dependence on oil by investing in technologies that will produce abundant supplies of clean and renewable energy, according to reports.
Bush also announced the U.S. commitment of investing 2 billion dollars over the next three years to create an international clean energy technology fund that would help finance developing countries to implement renewable energy projects.
This year's conference WIREC 2008, hosted by the U.S., is the third global ministerial-level conference on renewable energy, following events in Beijing in 2005 and Bonn in 2004. The next conference will be held in 2010 in India.