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* Sri Lanka hosts Climate Parliament meeting to promote renewable energy
Fri, Nov 16, 2012, 11:05 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Nov 16, Colombo: Parliamentarians from ten Asian, African and Middle Eastern countries will meet today in the southern resort town of Wadduwa to discuss ways to tackle climate change by promoting renewable energy.

The meeting will bring legislators from South Africa, India, the UK, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Congo Brazzaville, Senegal, Lebanon, Tunisia and Morocco together for a three-day meeting from November 16 to 18.

The meeting is organized by the Climate Parliament, an international cross-party network of legislators committed to action on climate change, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

The conference, funded by the European Union is part of a US$ 4 million (Euro 3.1 million) global project aimed at helping parliamentarians from developing countries to fight climate change and stamp out poverty through parliamentary action.

It will focus on regional electricity trading, the potential of sustainable investment for cutting carbon emissions, fighting poverty, and driving economic growth in South Asia and across the developing world.

"As we surely know when living in Asia climate change is a real threat disproportionately affecting the poor," says Butchaiah Gadde, a climate mitigation expert at the UNDP.

Sri Lanka this year experienced a fair share of the climate change with a prolonged drought, which destroyed the crops and emptied the hydropower reservoirs forcing the country to use more thermal energy, followed by the unusually heavy monsoon rains brought on by cyclonic conditions.

"One of the best solutions for climate change is to invest in energy access projects combined with productive and income-generating uses where renewable energy is part of the solution," he suggests.

Sir Graham Watson, Chairman of Climate Parliament, suggests that improving access to energy in South-Asia is the development of a supergrid - a network of electricity superhighways that would link up wind, solar, and hydropower plants and allow energy trading between regional neighbors, to provide reliable and 100% renewable electricity for all.

"But a supergrid needs multilateral action from governments across the region. That's why MPs from across the region and beyond are calling on governments to invest just 1% of their budgets into renewable energy and supergrids, and organizing an international network of MPs who can press for action in their national parliaments," he says.

Countries such as Bangladesh and India have already begun to make progress towards the renewable energy transition. India has raised its renewable energy target from 6.4% to 15%, and the 15% is included in India's national Five Year Plan.



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