Developing countries must turn their back on oil, says Lord Howell

Developing countries need to turn their back on oil, says Lord Howell. Addressing a business audience at the Commonwealth Power Summit 2011 today, Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell said developing […]

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By Vicky Ellis in London

Developing countries need to turn their back on oil, says Lord Howell.

Addressing a business audience at the Commonwealth Power Summit 2011 today, Foreign Office Minister Lord Howell said developing nations must be encouraged to adopt cleaner forms of energy production.

“Removing fossil fuel subsidies is a sensitive issue. However, not removing them will have a negative impact on the poorest members of society.

“The longer subsidies are in place, the more terrifying the pressure put on the budgets of governments which are often strapped for cash, and the more incentives are delayed to move to greener and lower cost, lower carbon and in the end more sustainable fuels.”

However, another speaker at the conference, Rupert Soames, chief executive of Aggreko, which company builds conventional power plants across developing countries, criticised attempts to push renewable energy onto developing nations.

He said: “I believe there’s a move amongst large multi-nationals to try and force expensive and ruinous policies onto poor countries who can’t afford it. Especially when CO2 emissions from developing countries are dwarfed by those of developed countries.”

The audience of business leaders and officials from Africa, Asia and the Caribbean heard that securing power was the most important driver for economic growth.