Reclaiming Power: An energy model for people and the planet (Friends of the Earth)

Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland / November 2011

(Reclaiming Power An energy model for people and the planet Friends of the Earth)This report sets out how a global feed in tariff (FIT) could spur a wave of clean accessible energy for people around the world which would help reduce poverty and combat climate change.

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Feed in tariffs are government payments for companies or individuals to generate renewable energy. They can also entail payments for energy sold back to the national grid. The authors argue national level FITs have been successful (e.g. in Europe and China) and should now be scaled up to the global level.

The idea is that a Global Fund would provide subsidies and upfront funding so that mainly local communities – as well as industry – in developing countries can start generating their own renewable energy. For example remote villages could produce their own solar power via decentralised mini-grids. Funding sources for the Global Fund range from:

  • Public funding put up by developed countries.
  • Diverting existing subsidies away from fossil fuel industries.
  • Levy on aviation and maritime fuels.
  • Tax on financial transactions.

The report argues the current energy production model is too centralised and dependent on fossil fuels. The authors warn against ‘false solutions’ which include:

  • Deploying inappropriate technology that has negative social and environmental impacts
  • Funding from carbon markets. Carbon offsets simply move reductions from one place to another and do not significantly reduce overall emissions.
  • Role of influential actors like the World Bank that has a history of funding large, centralised fossil fuel projects e.g. a US$3.75 billion loan to South African energy company Eskom for a coal-fired power station that could produce 25-30 million tonnes of carbon dioxide.

The shift to renewable energies is urgently needed because burning fossil fuels is causing climate change, an estimated 1.3 billion people worldwide do not have energy access and 2.7 billion still rely on traditional biomass which has negative health effects.

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This summary was prepared by Why Green Economy?. The views expressed have been paraphrased. See the original source for more information.

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