“Climate REDI” (renewable energy development initiative) is a new program that was annoced today at a presentation by the US Department of Energy. The main speaker was US secretary of Energy, Steven Chu. Prior to his presentation, the partner countries in this new intitive, ministers from India and Italy, as well as a representative from Australia said a few words on the initiative and the partnerships.
It was obvious that the point of Chu’s presentation is to show that the United States is serious about changing out direction or energy use, but as one question from the public pointed out, it does not seem that the US targets on reducing our energy consumption are very ambitious. While this may be true, the initiative does include expensive and expansive programs to address current and future developments in clean and renewable resource development.
The emphasis for new technologies within the US and in developing countries that Chu presented were efficient batteries, wind turbines, solar power, LED lighting, smart grids, and energy efficient appliances.
While I didn’t hear much of the programs goals in other countries from Chu, the representative from Australia did say that a priority of Climate REDI is fast-tracking renewable resource technologies in developing countries. Chu touched on the battery and LED power for lighting in developing nations, but nothing else specifically.
So what is the $80 billion down payment in the recovery act for a clean energy economy and the $85 million over the next 5 years for the Climate REDI initiative going? He talked a few minutes on wind power, saying that the US has invested in blade testing in order to create the next generation of compact wind turbines. Also, the funds to revolutionize the way buildings are designed and retrofitted, using an example of creating embedded tools in architecture design programs that would show energy efficiency to buildings architectures and designers. They are also working on applications for smart phones in which consumers would be able to visually see their energy usage and help them make energy efficient changes.
In the question and answer part, Chu was asked about the connection between the program and transportation and how this will be designed with smart grids. Chu said the government has been and will continue to push to increase fuel efficiency standards, develop batteries, and other renewable resources to reduce CO2 emissions, and also work on using biofuels.
He concluded the presentation by stating that there needs to be a shift in thinking by Americans, leaving fossil fuel consumption, and going to a “hi-tech sustainable energy” economy.
I looked for the specific point of the program on both the Energy Department’s website, and their specific site for COP15, but there was no information obviously posted, so I might come back later and let you know what the specific of the program are.
found the department of energy’s press release.
Secretary Chu today announced the launch of a new Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI). The program will accelerate deployment of renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies in developing countries – reducing greenhouse gas emissions, fighting energy poverty and improving public health for the most vulnerable, particularly women and children.
Climate REDI includes three new clean energy technology programs and funding needed to launch a renewable energy program under the World Bank’s Strategic Climate Fund…
Climate REDI is a “quick-start” initiative to complement the much broader technology and finance mechanisms of an international climate agreement. It will promote dissemination of clean energy technologies…
The combined budget for these programs is $350 million over five years. Funding for the first three programs above will total $100 million — $35 million that the United States intends to contribute, with the balance from Italy, Australia and other partners. Funding for the Scaling-Up Renewable Energy Program will total $250 million – $50 million that the United States intends to contribute and $200 million that the United Kingdom, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland pledged previously…
AFP is reporting that the next few weeks leading up to the UN climate change conference in Copenhagen could be marked by a bilateral diplomatic offensive.
President Obama is going to visit China in the next few days and upon returning to Washington, will host the Indian Prime Minister, Manmohan Singh at the end of the month.
Obviously both countries are important to coming to an agreement in Copenhagen for action on climate change.
The AFP article also indicates that US Energy Secretary Steven Chu will visit China and India as well to search for common ground.
It will be interesting to see what transpires with the Obama and Chu visits. Since China, in particular, has said that it wants to reduce its carbon intensity in the mid term, it seems that the ball is in Obama’s court to start talking specifics–something he is reluctant to do without legislation passed in Congress.
Perhaps these meetings will help grease the wheels for something significant to transpire in Copenhagen with Obama providing closed-door promises. It is difficult to say, but with these high-profile meetings happening in the days prior to the Copenhagen meeting and the recent feelers that Obama put forth about attending the meeting if it looks like progress can be made, climate change certainly will be on the agenda.
US Energy Secretary Stephen Chu was in China yesterday to discuss climate change with governmental officials. The New York Times reports that he raised the rhetoric somewhat in the persistent disagreement between the two countries on how the world should respond to climate change.
According to the Times, Chu emphasized that China and other developing nations could make the problem of climate change “much worse” with their emissions while acknowledging the West’s historical role. He also presented a set of powerpoint slides [.pdf] emphasizing all the problems that can befall China in the absence of any action on climate change
Chu was accompanied by Commerce Secretary Gary Locke who took a similar theme. In a speech to business leaders, Locke said: “Fifty years from now, we do not want the world to lay the blame for environmental catastrophe at the feet of China.”
China’s position is that their per-capita emissions are quite small, they have not emitted nearly as much historically as the West and that the persistence of “old” greenhouse gases is part of the current problem, and that the West is better equipped financially to make large reductions.
Thus, having Chu and Locke lecture the Chinese on their own emissions is unlikely going to be received well.
The two countries did agree on some partnership programs to increase efficiency and develop clean energy technology.
It’s difficult to speculate on the effect that these types of speeches will have on international negotiations, but more positive dialogue coming from US and China officials would make for a more optimistic outcome in Copenhagen later this year.
It should be noted that Chu told a group of reporters after meeting with Chinese officials that he feels optimistic about Copenhagen.