U.S. Blocks All Action On Renewable Energy at Earth Summit in Johannesburg

September 03, 2002

This news from the Earth Summit in Johannesburg: the US, Japan, and oil exporting countries have succeeded in blocking all attempts to enshrine a target and timeline for expanding renewable energy sources in the Earth Summit’s plan of action.

The 2-day deadlock on the issue was broken at midnight last night. Environmentalists are furious and are accusing the European Union of bowing to pressure from the United States.

Greenpeace says the 300-strong US delegation told delegates behind the scenes that the US would only agree to give money for clean water if the world gave up concrete targets on renewable energy.

The London Independent reports the decision is a body blow to the credibility of the summit, as the target was probably the most important touchstone of whether it would make progress in tackling the twin crises of growing poverty and escalating environmental deterioration. The overall verdict must be that it has largely failed.


  • Steve Sawyer, climate policy advisor for Greenpeace.

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