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Innovative Technologies, Innovative Diplomacy

The Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs reports from the third Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum that brings public and private sector leaders from around the world together to accelerate the transition to clean energy technologies

I’m on my way back from London where we’ve just wrapped-up the third Clean Energy Ministerial. This innovative forum brings public and private sector leaders from around the world together to accelerate the transition to clean energy technologies. 

This year’s meeting was especially exciting. U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron attended one of our sessions and U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon participated in another by phone. Secretary Chu spoke about the huge opportunities in cutting energy waste and the Super-efficient Equipment and Appliance Deployment (SEAD) initiative, which (no kidding) could save consumers more than $1 trillion over the next two decades. Dozens of public and private sector leaders shared lessons learned and proposals for next steps in promoting energy efficiency, clean energy and sustainable energy for all.

Most important, we announced major new steps forward. The United Kingdom pledged more than $100 million to promote carbon capture, use and storage in the developing world.   Denmark, Germany and Spain announced a global renewable energy atlas  -- an important new on-line resource for governments or companies working to bring solar, wind and other renewable energy sources to market. The United States and Italy announced the launch of Lighting India, which will bring modern lighting services to two million people by the end of 2015. The United States announced a new program to support women working in clean energy – the Clean Energy Education & Empowerment initiative.

The first Clean Energy Ministerial was hosted by Secretary Chu in Washington in summer 2010, growing out of a Major Economies Forum Leaders meeting the year before. The second Clean Energy Ministerial was held in Abu Dhabi in spring 2011. As this week’s London meetings made clear, countries working together under the Clean Energy Ministerial have accomplished a lot in a short time.   

Yet we’ve only begun to tap the potential. Our initiatives are gaining steam. The fourth Clean Energy Ministerial will be held in India in 2013 and the fifth in Korea in 2014. In the months and years ahead, this innovative global forum can help speed the transition to clean energy technologies in the United States and around the world.