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Århus ’98
Ministers Agree on Energy Conservation and Nuclear
 
At the Pan-European Environmental Ministers’ meeting in June in Århus, Denmark, all the European countries welcomed a common guideline for energy conservation. They also endorsed a common statement on energy efficiency, which calls for the following to be done before 2005: phase out (or modify) environmentally harmful energy price subsidies; include environmental costs (if practical and necessary) in energy prices; develop minimum efficiency standards for buildings, household appliances, and standardized equipment; develop a strategy for promotion of cogeneration of heat and electricity combined with renewable energy. In the ministerial declaration from the meeting, the ministers agreed to phase out dangerous nuclear power plants, and 10 countries asked for a complete phase-out of nuclear energy. Even though the text has diplomatic loopholes, the energy issues were some of the most debated items on the ministerial agenda. The USA and Canada took part in the meeting as members of the UN Economic Commission for Europe, but they could support neither the guideline nor the statement. The proposals seemed to be too radical for them. The ministerial declaration, guideline, and statement are available at http://www.mst.dk/aarhus-conference/ as well as from UN-ECE, and from INFORSE-Europe.
NGO Activities for Sustainable Energy
At the ECO-Forum ‘98 in Århus in June, parallel to the ministers meeting, the energy and climate group of the ECO-Forum met and decided to continue its activities. It will cover: follow-up from the Århus conference, including implementation of the decisions and energy-conservation guideline from Århus; energy and climate issues at the Pan-European Environment and Health Conference in London , 1999; follow the activities of the UN-ECE Committee on Sustainable Energy; asking observer status at negotiations on the Energy Charter Treaty implementation and its Energy Efficiency Protocol. The energy and climate group is coordinated by INFORSE-Europe and Climate Network Europe (CNE). CNE is primarily responsible for activities geared towards the Environment and Health Conference in London. The ECO-Forum continues as an umbrella for environmental organisations’ Pan-European activities. In the coming year, the focus will be on the Environment and Health Conference to be held in London and on implementation of the convention on public participation that was signed by the ministers in Århus. The activities are coordinated by a new coordinating board that was elected at the ECO-Forum
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ISSUE #22 (1998-09-01)
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