Canada, U.S., Australia look bad by shunning IRENA
It was a big day yesterday for renewable energy, even though most North American media outlets didn’t notice. The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was officially launched in Bonn, Germany, creating an international voice for the renewable-energy industry that simply wasn’t being represented adequately by the International Energy Agency. German legislator Hermann Scheer, known as the chief architect of Germany’s green-energy laws, has spent the past two decades as the driving force behind IRENA’s creation. Said Scheer yesterday: “From this day forward, the world’s nations will have a mechanism for working together on the adoption of renewable energies.”
During the event 75 countries became official members and several more indicated plans to join. Canada, the U.S., and Australia are among those that have refused to join, but Canada perhaps stands out as least supportive of the effort. At least the United States and Australia sent official observers. “Regretfully, Canada did not send an official representation to the founding conference,” said Jose Etcheverry of the David Suzuki Foundation.
The American Council on Renewable Energy is hoping the U.S. will reconsider the Bush administration’s refusal to join, and under an Obama administration there’s a good chance it will. That leaves Canada, which has consistently maintained the position: “Why bother?”