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IdentifierCreatedClassificationOrigin
09LONDON32 2009-01-06 12:37:00 CONFIDENTIAL//NOFORN Embassy London
Cable title:  

UK UNDECIDED ON JOINING THE INTERNATIONAL

Tags:   SENV KGHG ENRG PGOV EUN UK 
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VZCZCXRO0568
PP RUEHAG RUEHROV RUEHSR
DE RUEHLO #0032 0061237
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
P 061237Z JAN 09
FM AMEMBASSY LONDON
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC PRIORITY 0838
INFO RUCNMEM/EU MEMBER STATES COLLECTIVE
RHEBAAA/DEPT OF ENERGY WASHINGTON DC
					  C O N F I D E N T I A L LONDON 000032 

NOFORN
SIPDIS

EEB/ESC:DMONOSSON, OES/EGC:GTHOMPSON

E.O. 12958: DECL: 01/05/2019
TAGS: SENV KGHG ENRG PGOV EUN UK
SUBJECT: UK UNDECIDED ON JOINING THE INTERNATIONAL
RENEWABLE ENERGY AGENCY

REF: SECSTATE 134385 Classified By: Acting Economic Minister Counselor Kathleen Doherty for reasons 1.4 (b) and (d)



1. (C/NF) Summary. The UK is still undecided whether it will join the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) but expects to make a decision by January 12. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), Foreign Commonwealth Office (FCO), and HM Treasury are the three decision-makers, but DECC and FCO are divided on the issue. DECC's concerns are focused on IRENA's mandate, whereas FCO is worried about the political fallout with its European allies should the UK decide not to join. End Summary.

Concerns Overlap, Policy Focus

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2. (C/NF) Terry Carrington, with the Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC), told ESTHOff on January 2 that the UK is still undecided on whether it will join IRENA, but plans to make a decision by January 12. DECC, FCO, and Treasury are the three decision-making ministries, with DECC as the substantive lead. Carrington said DECC questions how IRENA will relate to existing renewable energy organizations, such as the International Energy Agency (IEA) and the Renewable Energy and Energy Efficiency Partnership (REEEP). There are also concerns that IRENA will be too focused on policy rather than implementing specific projects. A key question, according to Carrington, is whether the major international players -- Japan, China, and the United States -- will join the IRENA. If not, there is fear that the institution will be too euro-centric. Carrington added that Australia, China, and Japan have requested meetings with him in advance of the January 12 internal deadline to discuss the UK's position. Regarding the position of EU member states, he noted that Germany, Denmark, Spain, Austria, and Greece are supporting IRENA. He said France, however, is giving mixed messages. Countries on the fence include Italy, Norway, and Switzerland. The European Commission has not made any comments on the IRENA. According to Carrington, Germany said it will move forward with the launch of the IRENA on January 26, even if the UK decides not to join.

DECC Still Getting Its Own House in Order

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3. (C/NF) DECC currently contributes approximately 2.9 million USD (2 million GBP) to the REEEP and IEA (each) and would be required to give another 3.2 million USD (2.2 million GBP) to the IRENA if it decides to join. The UK is concerned without the support of other major world players there may also be financial pressure to increase its contribution. In addition, the DECC, established in October 2008, is in the process of developing its budget and policy priorities over the next couple of months. The timing of the January 26 IRENA launch would force the new ministry to make financial commitments before it is able to even secure its budget. HM Treasury also has concerns regarding these financial commitments, but is amenable to whatever is decided between the DECC and FCO. FCO shares some of the same concerns as DECC on substance, but is emphasizing the political dimension of the decision. According to Carrington, FCO is worried that not joining the IRENA will send the wrong signal to its European allies on its partnership.

Where do they go from here?

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4. (C/NF) The final decision may be made by the two Miliband brothers, Secretary of DECC Ed Miliband and Foreign Minister David Miliband, in close consultation with PM Brown. DECC submitted its concerns and recommendations to Secretary of DECC (Ed Miliband), with copies to Foreign Minister Miliband, and HM Treasury in late December. Carrington noted that the Germans have asked countries to commit a representative "with full signing authority" to the meeting on January 26. EU pressure, including a letter from Chancellor Angela Merkel to Foreign Minister David Miliband requesting the UK's support of the IRENA, could carry the day. Visit London's Classified Website: XXXXXXXXXXXX
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