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Closely bound up with mankind's destiny throughout history, energy management is faced with three challenges: the need to satisfy the requirements of the developing countries, the gradual depletion of fossil resources, and the threat of global warming as a result of massive consumption of those resources.
It is therefore urgent and essential to make use of the immense reserves of clean and sustainable renewable energy sources contained in the Earth's ecosystem. The atmospheric and water cycles, the Sun's rays, energy from plants, geothermal energy and the use of hydrogen as a fuel all have potential that is just waiting to be tapped. However, this priority requires a radical change in our centralised production and consumption methods.
After signing the Kyoto Protocol and committing itself to reducing the greenhouse effect, Europe has set itself the target of doubling renewable energy's share of total energy consumption over the next ten years. Research projects have a fundamental role to play in this pro-active policy. Apart from technological innovation, they are also intended to remove structural objectives to making sustainable resources part of our everyday lives.

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European Commission
Research Directorate-General
E-mail: Research DG contacts

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