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1st Conference, EU SE Campaign 2005

By Judit Szoleczky, INFORSE-Europe, editor.

INFORSE-Europe's newsletter, Sustainable Energy News, was invited to participate in the First Annual Conference of the EU awareness campaign for sustainable energy to change the energy landscape forever. In addition, Emil Bedi participated on behalf of INFORSE-Europe.
The conference was attended by about 300 participants in Brussels; and about 600 through the internet.
The main theme of this first conference was energy efficiency as a major European challenge. The energy commissioner, Andris Piebals, held a press conference and opened the event. We learned that the commissioner is deeply committed to the awareness-raising campaign. His answer for a question from the audience about how much he himself has been more aware of his own energy consumption since the campaign started gave a personal touch to the conference.
Presentations from DG TREN and from the European Parliament explained the legal framework and the expected results of the campaign.
Successful examples were given of commitment at various levels, along with discussions of how to formulate successful plans and proposals. Examples given of success included some from committed municipalities (e.g., Stockholm, changing to clean vehicles), consumer and industry associations (e.g., labelling refrigerators, washing machines), and NGOs (WWF rating products, Energie-Cities spreading good practice, and advice how to make energy a little more “sexy” subject).
The audience had also proposals: e.g., recycle rather than reuse old inefficient washing machines and refrigerators, labelling smaller kitchen machines such as toasters, and making the industry provide information on the electricity consumption of VHS, DVD recorders and players as well as of television sets. It raised the question of how much the market will do voluntarily and how much must be made compulsory.
During the conference, the educational material of the ManageEnergy Kids Corner was also presented, which is planned to be translated in all European languages.

During the debate, INFORSE tried to highlight:
• The positive roles of NGOs in organising local events, and school efforts. The advantages of synergy with other school efforts made by INFORSE, ISES and others.
• The possible positive effects involving more women to begin compensating for their often underrepresentation in energy issues and among decision makers.
Women’s input is all the more vital because often they are more environmentally conscious, more positive on green energy, and more worried about consequences of a nuclear accidents. Often, too, they are the ones who use the kitchen appliances.

From INFORSE, we find that the EU Campaign is an important step. If there is a real political will that succeeds in engaging politicians as well as municipalities, the EU Campaign could make a big difference. We look forward to being a partner in this effort and encourage INFORSE-Europe members to get involved in, e.g., organising Energy-Efficient Day. The Danish Samsø 100% renewable island initiative is already a partner and appears in the November Newsletter of the campaign as a showcase example.

The above article was published in Sustainable Energy News 51.
We also reported about the Campaign in Sustainable Energy News 50 on page 4.
Read more at the Official EU Conference site

INFORSE-Europe became Campaign Associates to the Sustainable Energy Europe Campaign 2005-08 Initiative.
Read more on the campaign: www.sustenergy.org