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Climate Change Policy & Practice
Global Renewable Energy Forum
“Scaling up Renewable Energy”

7-9 October 2009 | León, Mexico

Global Renewable Energy Forum - “Scaling up Renewable Energy”

Co-organized by the Ministry of Energy of Mexico and the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), the Global Renewable Energy Forum 2009 took place from 7 to 9 October 2009 in León, Mexico. The Forum, which took as its theme “Scaling up Renewable Energy,” brought together over 2000 participants from over 73 countries, including 30 ministers and high-level representatives from governments, international organizations, academia, civil society and the private sector. Highlights included speeches from Mexican President Felipe Calderón and Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

The main objective of the 2009 Forum was to provide a platform for proactive dialogue to strengthen inter-regional cooperation and encourage innovative multi-stakeholder partnerships aimed at scaling-up renewable energy in Latin America and elsewhere. Furthermore, the event highlighted the leadership required to promote renewable energy and facilitate the development of supportive policy frameworks aimed at strengthening clean energy initiatives. Other major themes repeated throughout the event included the need for: stability and predictability in renewable energy policy to enhance prospects for private investment; improved capacities to utilize existing renewable technologies; energy poverty and energy justice issues to be addressed; and all countries, rich and poor, to take urgent action to adopt renewable technologies to ensure the transition to a post-carbon society.

The two-and-a-half day event included nine plenary sessions and three parallel sessions, all of which were organized as moderated discussion panels with keynote speakers.  Plenary sessions were convened on the following themes: energy poverty, economic and financial crisis, and climate change; renewable energy and energy transition; renewable energy potential; the renewable energy and the access agenda; biofuels; investments in renewables; and innovative policy and institutional frameworks. The parallel sessions focused on new technologies, renewable energy for industrial applications, and energy efficiency. A series of business forums in the evenings and a renewable technology exhibition took place alongside the Forum, showcasing business activity in the renewables field...More information

Photographs for Wednesday, 7 October 2009
Distinguished guests join Mexican President Felipe Calderón Hinojosa at the Inaugural Plenary Session of the Global Renewable Energy Forum in Leon, Guanajauto, Mexico, including: Georgina Kessel, Secretary of Energy, Mexico; Kandeh K. Yumkella, Director-General, United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, Governor, State of Guanajauto; Rajendra K. Pachauri, Chairman, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and CEO, TERI, India; and Hélène Pelosse, Director-General, International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA).
Rajendra K. Pachauri proposed that Mexico and India forge an alliance to stimulate research and development and public-private partnerships, for which he suggested the name: the Development Alliance for Renewable Energy (DARE).
Mexican President Felipe de Jesús Calderón Hinojosa delivers his address at the Inaugural Plenary Session of the Global Renewable Energy Forum, Leon, Mexico.
Kandeh K. Yumkella emphasized the importance of shifting to a more sustainable energy paradigm.
Carlos Slim, Chairman, Grupo Carso, stressed the opportunities offered by the current economic crisis to begin shifting the energy paradigm in favor of renewables.

Photographs for Thursday, 8 October 2009

Jorge Miguel Samek, Brazilian General Director, Itaipu Binacional, discussed how much progress has already been made in terms of renewables and used Brazil’s very high rate of renewable use as an illustration of what is possible.

Ged Davis, Council Co-President, GEA, recapping the first day’s events.

Concerning the need to address climate change, Deepak Gupta, Secretary, Ministry of New and Renewable Energy, India, emphasized that there is a fundamental difference between luxury and subsistence emissions that must be taken into consideration when evaluating solutions to the climate challenge.

Moderator Ged Davis, GEA, prompted panelists in the Future of Biofuels: Potential and Challenges session to tackle the controversial elements surrounding biomass as an energy source. Participants left to right: William Holmberg, American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE); Sergio Ramírez Robles, BIOFIELDS; Melinda Kimble, Senior Vice President, United Nations Foundation; Ricardo Castello Branco, Director, Participaciones Petrobras Biocombustibles, Brazil; Ged Davis; Suani Teixeira Coelho, CENBIO-Brazilian Reference Center on Biomass; Gustavo Best, REMBIO Mexican Bioenergy Network.

Participants on the panel discussing New Technologies for Transitioning to a Low-Carbon Economy evaluated the potential of a variety of technologies and the funding for renewables in developing economies through the Global Environmental Facility (GEF) and UNIDO. Participants from left to right: Fernando Marti Scharfhausen, National Energy Commission, Spain; Paolo Frankl, Head, Renewable Energy, International Energy Agency (IEA); Stanislav Miertus, UNIDO; Domenico Coiro, University of Naples; Nicolas Lymberopoulos, UNIDO; Chris Sladen, BP; Dimitrios Zevgolis, GEF.

Stressing the urgency of the climate challenge, Georgina Kessel, Secretary of Energy, Mexico urged the restructuring the energy sector, underlining that energy was a critical component in the solution to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (photo courtesy of UNIDO and SENER)

Photographs for Friday, 9 October 2009

Joseph Williams, Caribbean Community and Common Market (CARICOM), stressed the vulnerability of CARICOM countries to climate change impacts, in inverse proportion to their contribution to greenhouse gas emissions.

Juan Manuel Oliva Ramírez, Governor, State of Guanajuato, Mexico, supported President Calderon’s call for a Green Fund to enable developing countries to combat climate change. He said that this forum created an opportunity for partnerships to find solutions to meet the energy challenges of climate change.

Kandeh Yumkella, Director-General, UNIDO, thanked the Mexican president for playing such a prominent role in promoting green economic activities within the Latin American and Caribbean region, which is part of sealing the deal at the Copenhagen Summit on climate change. He said the economic crisis offers an opportunity to broaden the dialogue and include discussion of economic competitiveness, transformation, and innovation in the next twenty years.

IISD RS team memebers Sabrina Shaw, Bo Fredvik, and Aaron Leopold cooling down after the close of the Forum.

Related Links

UNIDO resources
Meeting website
Tentative programme
Concept note
Side Events

General resources
Global Forum on Sustainable Energy (GFSE)
International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA)

IISD RS resources
IISD RS coverage of the International Conference on Green Industry in Asia: “Managing the transition to resource-efficient and low-carbon industries”, 9-11 September 2009, Manila, the Philippines
IISD RS Summary Report of the Vienna Energy Conference 2009, 22-24 June 2009, Vienna, Austria (HTML - PDF)
IISD RS coverage of the Global Renewable Energy Forum, 18-21 May 2008, Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil
IISD RS coverage of the International Conference on Renewable Energy in Africa, 16-18 April 2008, Dakar, Senegal
IISD RS coverage of the First High-Level Biofuels Seminar in Africa, 30 July-1 August 2007, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
IISD RS coverage of the Iberoamerican Ministerial Meeting on “Energy Security In Latin America: Renewable Energy as a Viable Alternative”, 26-27 September 2006, Montevideo, Uruguay
IISD RS climate change and energy page
Energy-L - A mailing list for news on energy policy
Climate-L - A mailing list for news on climate change policy
Linkages Update - Bi-weekly international environment and sustainable development news
MEA Bulletin - Newsletter on key MEAs and their secretariats
Climate Change Policy & Practice - News and information on the actions of international organizations in responding to the problem of global climate change
African Regional Coverage

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