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Clean Energy Ministerial Presentation at COP19 Highlights Results of Unique Global Forum

Friday, November 22, 2013

Clean Energy Ministerial Presentation at COP19 Highlights Results of Unique Global Forum

Jonathan Pershing, deputy assistant secretary with the U.S. Department of Energy, and Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of the World Energy Trilemma, during CEM Side Event at COP19.

Tackling the complex problem of climate change requires transitioning to a global clean energy economy. At a presentation during the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Conference of the Parties (COP19) in Warsaw, the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) was highlighted for its unique collaborative process and the multinational efforts that are taking place through the CEM to accelerate the transition to clean energy.  Speakers included Jonathan Pershing, deputy assistant secretary with the U.S. Department of Energy, and Joan MacNaughton, executive chair of the World Energy Trilemma. 

The presentation also highlighted the CEM initiatives that are underway, noting some of the results achieved to date, as well as the potential that exists to do more. For example, the 16 countries that participate in the Super-Efficient Equipment and Appliance (SEAD) initiative have already taken measures that are projected to save 600 terawatt-hours of electricity per year by 2030. And by implementing all current energy efficiency best practices, those same countries could save about 2000 terawatt-hours of electricity, thereby eliminating the need for about 650 coal-fired power plants and 11 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions over the next two decades. 

The 23 governments participating in the CEM represent the major economies of the world, coming together voluntarily to collaborate on clean energy. “The CEM helps governments realize their unique vision for a new energy system,” said Pershing during the presentation. He added that one size does not fit all when it comes to clean energy but that every CEM participant is interested in doing something significant to accelerate this transition. “At the end of the day, we can do this at an affordable price and in a way that improves people’s lives,” Pershing commented.

McNaughton has participated in public–private roundtables at the ministerial meetings three years running and moderated a session at CEM4. She described the value of the roundtables and their interdisciplinary makeup—panels may include technical experts and individuals from the social, political, and finance communities—as well as the role of the private sector in the CEM process. “It brings together the private sector and ministers in a problem-solving capacity. You sit around a table together and you crunch a problem,” she said. She also commented that the roundtables “allow you to think about some of the co-dependencies that are often overlooked.”

In his closing comments, Pershing noted the demonstrated CEM successes but called for bolder action, affirming the opportunity to scale up and do much more. Energy leaders will gather in Korea next spring to build on these accomplishments and work towards this potential.
The presentation was recorded and is available for viewing.