Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas – Second Symposium in D.C. next April 15th.
Nobel Prize in Physics and U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu
Leaders of the Western Hemisphere recognize that energy is fundamental to sustainable development and they are committed to expanding cooperation to address the urgent and intertwined challenges of energy security and climate change. Energy Ministers will meet with civil society and the private sector at the Second Energy and Climate Ministerial of the Americas on April 15-16, 2010, in Washington, D.C. at the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) and the Organization of American States (OAS), hosted by Secretary of Energy Steven Chu and with participation by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. The first ministerial meeting was held in Peru last year.
This new development started during the last Summit of the Americas in Trinidad Tobago. U.S. President Barack Obama proposed an Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in April 2009. President Barack Obama vision is that “we must come together to find new ways to produce and use energy…So today, I’m proposing the creation of a new Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA) that can forge progress to a more secure and sustainable future.” His vision is that ECPA brings countries across the Western Hemisphere together to facilitate the acceleration of clean energy development and deployment, advance energy security, and reduce energy poverty by sharing best practices, encouraging investment, and cooperating on technology research, development and deployment.
ECPA is shaped by the five pillars laid out by President Obama:
- Energy efficiency;
- Renewable energy;
- Cleaner fossil fuels;
- Infrastructure; and
- Energy poverty.
The Department of State informed recently that joining ECPA is voluntarily, allowing governments, Inter-American organizations, private industry, and civil society to lead or participate in initiatives that reflect their priorities. Governments may work jointly or on their own to lead initiatives, finance activities, and/or create welcoming policy environments that encourage low carbon development. Countries identify areas where they can contribute or need assistance, collaborate, and share on the OAS ECPA information clearinghouse website.
The ECPA initiatives currently underway include:
- A Low Carbon Communities program launched by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) that will assist Costa Rican, Dominican, Peruvian, Colombian and Caribbean governments to develop transformative energy programs and policies;
- An initiative to promote sustainable urban development and planning led by Brazil;
- Strengthening of electrical interconnections in the Andean region, Chile and Panama led by Colombia;
- Clean energy technology centers that include a regional Energy Efficiency Center led by Peru, a regional Wind Research Center supported by Mexico, a regional Renewable Energy Center with Chile, an Energy Efficiency Center in Costa Rica with the Natural Resources Defense Council, a Biomass Center in Brazil, and a Geothermal Center in El Salvador with support from the IDB and DOE; and
- A Clean Energy Exchange Program of the U.S. Trade and Development Agency inviting nearly 50 Latin American and Caribbean energy officials on six reverse trade missions.
Americas’ Energy Leaders Take Action to Realize Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas
After the 5th Summit of The Americas , the ministers of energy of the continent gathered together with major energy corporations and other experts in Lima, Peru June 15 and 16, 2009 at the Americas Energy and Climate Symposium. The Symposium, the first major energy event after the Summit of the Americas, resulted in the announcement of concrete joint actions to improve energy efficiency, promote clean and renewable energy, and increase information sharing on best practices and past experiences.
“As President Obama explained when announcing the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, countries across our hemisphere must come together to find new ways to produce and use energy, so that we can create jobs and promote economic recovery while protecting our planet,” said U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “The Symposium is the latest in a series of collaborative efforts to strengthen our clean energy future throughout the Americas, and we look forward to working with our regional partners in the shared goal of combating global climate change.”
Among the joint efforts welcomed at the Symposium, Secretary Chu announced a Low Carbon Communities Program to assist countries in developing transformative energy efficiency and renewable energy programs to reduce the carbon footprint of urban communities throughout the region. Through this initiative, the Department of Energy will partner with countries in the region to provide technical assistance and limited funding to develop building standards and adopt modern urban planning strategies including transit-oriented development to achieve low carbon communities.
Energy leaders also announced the development of a Regional Energy Efficiency Center in conjunction with the Peruvian government and a Regional Wind Center supported by Mexico.
The Americas Energy and Climate Symposium, hosted by the Government of Peru, demonstrates the strong support of the nations of the region to expand cooperation on energy and climate change as part of the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas (ECPA). The Partnership was first announced at the Fifth Summit of the Americas in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago, where President Obama invited all countries of the Western Hemisphere to be a part of a united effort in this critical area. Since the Summit in April, regional response has been overwhelmingly positive across all five ECPA elements: energy efficiency, renewable energy, cleaner fossil fuels, critical infrastructure, and energy poverty alleviation.