Well renewable energy is of course one of the main goals - and European politicians are turning to the desert in their search for cheap, clean and secure energy. As oil and gas prices hover at record levels, the Prince of Jordan and international scientists have been invited to Brussels to state their case for a potential energy goldmine: the sun. They say using a highly-concentrated form of solar energy holds the key to solving not only Europe's energy needs – but it would help bring stability to the Middle East region. Radio Netherlands Worldwide Brussels Correspondent Vanessa Mock reports for Network Europe:
“It’ll bring about an industrial revolution from the Levant and the Middle East all the way to Morocco and Spain. People will realise that energy is available.”
Prince Hassan bin Talal of Jordan has a grand vision for a technology called Concentrating Solar Thermal Power. There are already two major plants in California and Nevada. And now Spain’s just got two solar stations up and running, big enough to provide electricity to hundreds of thousands of homes.
The Prince has now joined forces with an international team of scientists to call on Europe to launch a ten million euro project for solar energy.
Dr Franz Trieb has been researching the technology for the German Aerospace Centre and says it has everything going for it:
“The resources are unlimited because they are based on sunshine. And they are renewable. The capacity that can be made available surpasses the human energy demand by several orders of magnitude“
Polly Higgins, a British scientist, says the beauty of solar power is its simplicity:
“The sun comes down into the desert and hits the mirrors The heat from the sun is then concentrated that then turns into steam with the high temperatures and that steam can turn the turbines.” But Dorett Corbey, a Dutch Labour Party MEP says Europe must overcome its fear.
Scientists believe that the first large scale power plants could be up and running by 2020, supplying Europe with a clean, stable source of energy. But for that to happen, it will take a lot more people like Dorett Corbey to go knocking on government doors to turn the vision into a reality.Listen to the report:
Experts tell us that the temperature is indeed rising - but unfortunately, it's not raining men - or even cats and dogs, unless you live in northern Europe. No, In fact - in many places it's not raining at all. Climate Change is not the stuff sci-fi films are made of - we're being told that the reality is here and now. Joining me in the studio now is an advisor to the Swedish government Gerd Johnsson-Latham - if you were in Bali right now - what would you be pushing for?
During the communist regime in Romania very few people could afford a car. In post-communist Romania, salaries didn't stretch to this type of "luxury" transportation. And now -- just when more and more Romanians can afford their own wheels - can you really tell them to slam the car door shut and get on their bikes? Well, as Radio Romania International's Iulian Muresan points out that you can tell them, but in this case reality just ain’t that easy.
German farmers and scientists met in Berlin on the 26th of November for a sobering discussion on the long-term impact of climate change on agricultural production. Hardy Graupner reports that global warming is expected to cause even more frequent droughts in the eastern parts of Germany, while farmers in other areas may profit from warmer harvesting periods. Scientific institutes warn that farmers should start adapting their fields to the climate changes that are on the way, but farmers are generally hesitant to heed this advice
Living in a desert clime, you might be a little nonplussed. But at first, of course there were many who didn’t seem bothered by balmier weather, indeed the French were quite pleased as it helped with their much loved past-time of wine making. 2002 and 2003 were great years, where warmer weather raised sugar levels. But, you can always have too much of a good thing and too much sugar will mean very alcoholic wine down the road. Sarah Elzas at Radio France International found out why the French are exclaiming Zut Alors!
Poland still relies heavily on fossil fuels, coal and oil. But wouldn't the Polish government, as well as the average consumer, have much to gain economically by boosting their energy efficiency? Polish Radio's External Services Gabriel Stille reports.
And now - onto this month's quiz - it's all about flower power. 2007 has been a botanical year for Sweden as the country celebrates the 300th anniversary of the birth of one of its most famous sons. He's known as the father of modern taxonomy. Do you know who he is? Former professor of Zoology in Uppsala ,Sweden, Carl-Olof Jacobson can give you a hint.
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