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Cablegate: Sri Lanka: Ambassadar Highlights U.S.Efforts At

VZCZCXRO2480
OO RUEHBI RUEHCI
DE RUEHLM #0833/01 1631154
ZNR UUUUU ZZH
O 121154Z JUN 07
FM AMEMBASSY COLOMBO
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 6233
INFO RUEHNE/AMEMBASSY NEW DELHI 1065
RUEHKA/AMEMBASSY DHAKA 0181
RUEHKT/AMEMBASSY KATHMANDU 5269
RUEHIL/AMEMBASSY ISLAMABAD 7162
RUEHBUL/AMEMBASSY KABUL 1343
RUEHBK/AMEMBASSY BANGKOK 3205
RUEHCG/AMCONSUL CHENNAI 7749
RUEHCI/AMCONSUL KOLKATA 0350
RUEHBI/AMCONSUL MUMBAI 5410
RHMCSUU/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
RUCPDOC/DEPT OF COMMERCE WASHDC

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 02 COLOMBO 000833

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

STATE FOR SCA/INS; SCA/RA JOHN SCHLOSSER AND ANISH GOEL;
ANE/AA LISA CHILES AND MARK WARD; ANE/SAA KAY FREEMAN;
ANE/IR RICHARD STEELMAN; ANE/TS JOHN WILSON,BARNEY POPKIN
AND CINDY LOWRY; EGAT/I&E JUAN BELT; EGAT/I&E/E GORDON
WEYNAND; EE/EG/EI ROBERT ICHORD; INDIA/SARI/E ROBYN
MCGUCKIN

MISSIONS FOR ECON OFFICERS AND USAID DIRECTORS; DEPT. OF
ENERGY FOR INTERNATIONAL ENERGY COOPERATION/ EUROPEAN AND
ASIAN AFFAIRS DIR ROBERT PRICE, TOM CUTLER; DEPT. OF
COMMERCE FOR INTERNATIONAL TRADE/ PAUL HUEPER

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: ENRG PREL SENV CE
SUBJECT: SRI LANKA: AMBASSADAR HIGHLIGHTS U.S.EFFORTS AT
EARTH DAY 2007 EVENT


SUMMARY:

1. Ambassador addressed an event organized by the U.S.
Embassy, USAID and the Sri Lanka Energy Managers
Association (SLEMA) to commemorate Earth Day 2007. Over
300 school children, government officials, representatives
of the private sector and local NGOs participated in this
half day seminar. The event highlighted issues related to
climate change, the importance of cleaner energy sources,
and what all of us can do to use energy more efficiently to
reduce global warming. End Summary.

EARTH DAY EVENTS
----------------
2. Ambassador delivered the keynote speech at a seminar
held in Colombo on May 17 to commemorate Earth Day 2007.
In his speech, he stated that the responsibility to protect
the environment and prevent global warming falls on all
sectors and citizens and requires a combination of
supportive policies, technologies, and, most importantly,
attitude and lifestyle changes. Ambassador noted that the
United States, along with 180 countries, had accepted the
findings and the way forward described in the 4th
Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC). He elaborated on several of the recent
decisions taken by the U.S. Government to combat global
warming, such as President Bush?s announcement committing
the U.S. to reduce domestic greenhouse gas emissions by
striving to cut emissions per unit of economic activity by
18% over the next 10 years. He also discussed President
Bush?s ?Twenty Ten? plan to cut gasoline consumption and
greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles by 20 percent
over the next 10 years. Speaking on specific technological
interventions he highlighted the importance of
incorporating ?green building? concepts in new
construction, citing the successes of the emerging green
building industry in India. These were advanced through
USAID?s support for the first Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design (LEED)- certified Green Business
Center in India. He stated that the U.S. will continue to
support international research, invest in science and
technology, and join hands with the international community
to develop an efficient and coordinated response to global
climate change.

3. The Earth Day event included three presentations by
subject matter experts on energy-related themes as well as
presentations on reducing global warming by students from
three leading schools. Over 300 school children,
government officials, representatives of the private
sector, and local NGOs participated in the half-day
seminar. An exhibition with stalls from NGOs, the private
sector, and school clubs was also organized so that the
students could interact and gain further information on
projects, services and appliances available in Sri Lanka to
increase energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse gas
emissions.

4. The experts who addressed the students provided
background on the dynamics of energy mixes, how to increase
the use of renewables, the importance of energy efficiency,
and how our present lifestyle must adapt to one that is
geared towards energy conservation. One of Sri Lanka?s
most prominent business leaders also addressed the
gathering, stressing the fact that businesses also have a
major role to play in climate change mitigation.

5. The three presentations from the students were of high
quality, incorporating scientific details, philosophy, and

COLOMBO 00000833 002 OF 002


ideas for social change. In the spirit of Earth Day they
all highlighted the need for the current and future
generations to be more informed and proactive in their
individual lives as well as in the spheres of policy and
public action. The students had done considerable research
and spoke eloquently in English.

6. The key messages shared at the event can be summarized
as follows:(1) On a global scale, Sri Lanka?s contribution
to global warming is minimal, however the repercussions of
this phenomenon will certainly affect Sri Lanka;(2) Fossil
fuel based energy sources used for industries, transport,
and electricity generation are among the main culprits of
global warming. In 2000, Sri Lanka?s overall energy mix
included 58% from renewable sources (mainly hydropower,
plus some biomass for household and industrial use) and the
balance of 42% from fossil fuels. In 2006 the share of
renewable sources had fallen to 52%;(3) Despite the
reduction in the renewable energy share, at present Sri
Lanka is among the top 15 countries that produce a larger
share of their electricity supply from renewables (Norway
tops the list with 99%, followed by Brazil, Colombia and
Iceland, all in the range of 80-90%);(4) Sri Lanka is
likely to lose its place amongst the countries ranked with
high use of renewables as projections indicate that
increased use of thermal energy sources will make renewable
energy only 22% of the total by 2015;(5) The Government of
Sri Lanka is interested in pushing for increased use of
renewables but the necessary directives and allocation of
resources have not yet been undertaken;(6) Energy
efficiency has a key role to play in reducing greenhouse
gas emissions.


ENERGY EFFICIENCY AS A VEHICLE FOR COMBATTING CLIMATE
CHANGE
--------------------------------------------- --------
7. One of the main objectives of the Earth Day celebration
was to highlight the role of energy efficiency in combating
climate change and the fact that this option can be adopted
and practiced by individuals and communities on a local and
national scale. The presentations highlighted numerous
ways to save energy, drawing upon lessons from the past,
technological innovations from the present, and a vision of
the future. They presented the case for demonstrating
greater social responsibility by adopting simple but
effective lifestyle changes.

9. At the end of the event, all participants were given a
compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulb as a token, but also
as a means to encourage children to use it in their homes
and encourage their parents and friends to switch from
inefficient incandescent lights to more efficient and
longer lasting CFLs that reduce the impact on climate
change.

CONCLUSION
----------
10. Global climate change is now widely accepted as a
pressing environmental issue in Sri Lanka. Colombo?s Earth
Day event succeeded in enhancing awareness and exposing
school children to the scientific facts; the economic,
developmental, and social aspects of climate change; and
the need for responsible use of energy in Sri Lanka and
around the World.

BLAKE

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