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Editor’s Note No. 102
Thursday, 6 March 2008
Chris Spence
Chris Spence
Managing Editor, Linkages Update
and Deputy Director, IISD RS
In recent years, energy issues have assumed an increasingly prominent place in discussions on how to achieve sustainable development. Energy security is now a key concern as uncertainties over oil and gas supplies, and a seemingly inexorable rise in demand, send prices spiraling to record levels. At the same time, the need to respond seriously to climate change has raised the profile of renewable energies and the focus on new and emerging clean technologies, as well as on the development and dissemination of technologies that might reduce the environmental impact of fossil fuels. The private sector’s critical role in financing and supporting the type and scale of investment needed to achieve these twin goals of energy security and climate-friendly development is also being increasingly recognized.

This issue of Linkages Update highlights some of the latest initiatives and discussions on energy. This week, the Washington International Renewable Energy Conference (WIREC 2008) is taking place. The third such high-level conference on renewable energy (following events in Beijing in 2005 and in Bonn in 2004), WIREC is busy addressing such topics as large-scale renewable energy, air quality and economic growth, best practices to accelerate renewable energy uptake, and the role of partnerships. The event is featuring a range of noteworthy speakers, including US President George W. Bush, who on 5 March spoke about reducing fossil fuel dependency and outlined his policies on biofuels, hydrogen and nuclear power. The event is expected to result in a number of announcements and pledges focused on renewable energy development and dissemination. A team of experts from IISD Reporting Services, led by Linkages Update’s Editor Lynn Wagner, is currently bringing daily coverage of this important meeting.

This is not the only recent news from the energy arena, however. As you will see in this issue of Linkages Update, energy discussions have been taking place across the globe – whether it is the Climate Technology Initiative’s recent event on the diffusion of climate-friendly technologies in Asia that took place recently in Beijing, or the Carbon Market America meeting in San Francisco, or the bilateral China-US talks in Seattle. We also report on new Japanese funding to support renewable energies in developing countries, on a UN Food and Agriculture (FAO) meeting with industry representatives to discuss energy use in the fisheries sector, and on recent reports by the Renewable Energy Network for the 21st Century (REN21) and the World Bank on energy policy issues, and by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) on the important and challenging issue of biofuels.

Closer to home, IISD Reporting Services has just launched its own initiative to facilitate and support the ongoing global policy work on energy issues. On 5 March 2008, IISD Reporting Services’ Executive Director, Langston James “Kimo” Goree, submitted a pledge at the WIREC 2008 Conference in Washington, DC, that we will be launching a new peer-to-peer listserve on energy issues, ENERGY-L. Like our existing lists such as CLIMATE-L and WATER-L, the new ENERGY-L lists will allow the thousands of members of the international policy community to share news and announcements on upcoming workshops and conferences, job listings, new publications and online resources, and other news relating to energy policy makers. For more information on our new ENERGY-L list, visit: http://www.iisd.ca/email/energy-L.htm

As well as our focus on energy, this week’s issue of Linkages Update also contains the latest updates and news on other important topics, including recent meetings under the Convention on Biological Diversity and the UN Environment Programme.
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