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About the Clean Energy Ministerial

The Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) is a high-level global forum to promote policies and programs that advance clean energy technology, to share lessons learned and best practices, and to encourage the transition to a global clean energy economy. Initiatives are based on areas of common interest among participating governments and other stakeholders.

Imperative to Act

The world is on the cusp of a clean energy revolution. Some new technologies can help provide clean energy by harnessing the power of the sun, wind, and other renewable resources. Other technologies can enable more efficient use of energy in buildings, industry, and vehicles. These technologies, when coupled with supportive policies, can significantly reduce carbon pollution from traditional fossil fuels, improve local air quality, create jobs, enhance energy security, and provide improved access to energy around the world. Yet barriers to the adoption of clean energy technologies abound, and the cost of some technologies remains high. By working together, governments and other stakeholders can overcome barriers and advance the adoption of clean energy technologies.

Origins

At the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change conference of parties in Copenhagen in December 2009, U.S. Secretary of Energy Steven Chu announced that he would host the first Clean Energy Ministerial to bring together ministers with responsibility for clean energy technologies from the world’s major economies and ministers from a select number of smaller countries that are leading in various areas of clean energy. By working together, these governments can accomplish more than by working alone. The CEM’s initiatives build on Technology Action Plans that were released by the Major Economies Forum Global Partnership in December 2009, which laid out best practice blueprints for action in key technology areas.

Focus Areas

The CEM is focused on three global climate and energy policy goals:

  • Improve energy efficiency worldwide
  • Enhance clean energy supply
  • Expand clean energy access

Key Roles

Bringing Together the World’s Key Clean Energy Market Leaders

Participating governments account for 80 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions and 90 percent of global clean energy investment. They also fund the vast majority of public research and development in clean energy technologies. They are the world’s leading installers of wind turbines and solar photovoltaics as well as the primary markets for emerging options such as carbon capture and storage. They are also the world’s major producers and purchasers of key energy-consuming products such as automobiles, televisions, and other appliances. The 23 governments participating in CEM initiatives are Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Korea, Mexico, Norway, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom, and the United States.

Improving Policy and Expanding Deployment of Clean Energy Technologies

Focused dialogue between the world’s major economies can accelerate the global clean energy transition. CEM initiatives focus on empowering energy decision makers around the world with the up-to-date information and tools they need to improve the policy environment for clean energy. This low-cost, high-impact technical work also facilitates international coordination that amplifies each government’s clean energy deployment efforts.

Distributing and Fostering Clean Energy Leadership around the World

The CEM’s "distributed leadership" model allows it to be more flexible and creative than consensus-based processes. Any government interested in furthering a substantive idea on clean energy technology is encouraged to identify willing partners and proceed. There is no expectation that every government join every initiative; this allows CEM partners to focus their efforts on those initiatives in which they are most interested or most capable.

Filling a Gap in the International Clean Energy Conversation

The CEM is currently the only regular meeting of energy ministers at which they exclusively discuss clean energy. The CEM also engages other ministries that play an important role in clean energy in some governments, such as ministries of science and technology or economics. The CEM also builds on and informs existing multilateral technical and policy work in cooperation with institutions such as the International Energy Agency, International Partnership for Energy Efficiency Cooperation, and International Renewable Energy Agency. The CEM’s unique focus on clean energy and the broad set of participating ministers make it an especially promising forum for collaboration.

Engaging Key Private-Sector Partners

The CEM encourages robust involvement by key private-sector partners (including both industry and nongovernmental organizations). These partners are encouraged to provide high-level policy input that is gathered at each ministerial meeting and to participate directly in the technical work of the initiatives themselves. Involvement by the private sector is essential to ensure that the CEM’s full potential is realized.