When the first session of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) was held in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, last year, I was already in the area and attended on behalf of the Social Justice Committee. IRENA is to be an independent, international agency run by countries who want to move into a future that doesn’t rely on nonrenewable energy sources like fossil fuels and nuclear energy.
Much of the inspiration for IRENA came from the work of Hermann Scheer, a German politician, activist, writer and an outspoken advocate for renewable energy. Opposed to the fossil fuel and nuclear industries until his death in 2010, he tried to counter their message that a future powered by renewable energy is naïve and not possible, a path that will cause severe economic hardship and leave people freezing in the dark.
Founded in January 2009, IRENA now has more than 100 member countries, and 58 others have signed in support and/or applied for membership. Canada is not a member, and has not indicated support. We have not even reached the stage of thinking about developing our own national “energy road map,” a stage reached by many European countries thirty years ago. Continue Reading