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The Clean Energy Ministerial Highlighted at COP21

Thursday, December 17, 2015

The Clean Energy Ministerial Highlighted at COP21

Several events at COP21 in Paris featured CEM, including new initiative launches. Photo credit: Yann Caradec.

The 21st United Nations climate conference (COP21) in Paris brought the world together in an effort to tackle climate change and set the world on a low-carbon pathway. With a successful outcome and a historic agreement reached, the focus now shifts to the “road from Paris.” With the energy sector worldwide representing two-thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions, one of the most crucial solutions to climate change is a global transition to clean energy, making the Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM) more important and more relevant than ever. As an implementation forum already achieving high-impact results through its initiatives and campaigns, the CEM will play a critical role going forward, not only to help countries deliver on their clean energy goals but also to build the capacity to continue scaling up and increasing ambition over time.

Several events at COP21 featured the role of the CEM as an implementation forum and highlighted results from CEM initiatives. New CEM campaigns were also launched to raise the visibility and direct much-needed resources to targeted areas that have particular potential for impact. Many of these efforts include partnerships with other organizations and engagement with the private sector.

Expanded Clean Energy Solutions Center

COP21 marked the launch of a major scale-up of the CEM’s Clean Energy Solutions Center, including the highly successful Ask an Expert service. To date, the Ask an Expert service has responded to more than 190 requests for assistance, providing no-cost clean energy policy support to 95 developing countries around the world. With new financial and in-kind support recently pledged by member countries, the service expects to scale up to fulfill 1,000 total policy assistance requests over the next five years.

As part of the scale-up, the Solutions Center also launched new services on clean energy finance. The new Clean Energy Finance Solutions Center provides resources to help governments mobilize clean energy finance. Along with expert assistance, the Center provides an online guide to help policy makers identify the most suitable finance measures, learn about existing and emerging finance resources and offerings, and access training on best practices and lessons learned. These resources can help countries identify innovative finance mechanisms and initiatives and design and implement policies to reduce risk and encourage private sector investment.

Sweden joins Australia and the United States in providing funding for the scaled-up Solutions Center. New clean energy experts from Canada, Mexico, and the United States (through its Power Africa program) are also joining the growing roster of consulting experts.

The Solutions Center also announced a new collaboration with the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme. The CTCN provides technical assistance to developing countries across a range of climate change mitigation and adaptation sectors. Through this new collaboration, the Solutions Center and CTCN will coordinate efforts to strengthen technical assistance to developing countries.

Global Lighting Challenge

The CEM Global Lighting Challenge (GLC) was officially launched at COP21, with initial national government and corporate commitments already putting the challenge well on its way of meeting the goal to deploy 10 billion high-efficiency, high-quality, affordable advanced lighting products, such as light-emitting diode (LED) lamps, as quickly as possible. Action on energy efficient lighting is a critical element in addressing climate and clean energy challenges; an overnight global transition to highly efficient LED lamps could avoid over 800 million metric tons of CO2 emissions, equivalent to displacing 684 coal-fired power plants a year. The GLC will continue to seek commitments to reach the 10 billion goal, with the next high-profile update on progress taking place during the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) in June.

Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition

The Efficiency for Access (E4A) Coalition was launched as a new collaborative effort between the CEM’s Global Lighting and Energy Access Partnership (Global LEAP) and Sustainable Energy for All (SE4All) to accelerate universal access to energy. The goal of E4A is to bring together and amplify the efforts of global development partners to harness the power of energy efficiency to achieve universal access to enhanced energy services—beyond lighting—by 2030. The E4A launch was the beginning of a Year of Action to mobilize and coordinate commitments from public- and private-sector partners leading up to COP22 in 2016.

Other CEM-Related Events

Toward Zero Carbon Transport is a joint endeavor among a number of global initiatives: the CEM Electric Vehicles Initiative (EVI), International Zero-Emission Vehicle Alliance (ZEV Alliance), the Paris Process on Mobility and Climate (PPMC), Urban Electric Mobility Initiative (UEMI), and C40 Cities Climate Leadership Group Low Emission Vehicle Network. The COP21 event promoted electric-drive vehicles (EVs) as significant potential contributors to greenhouse gas reductions and called on the public and private sectors to take action to advance EV deployment.

Seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) Location Announced

At CEM6 in May 2015, U.S. President Obama announced in a video message that the United States will host the seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7). At COP21, U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and California Governor Edmund G. Brown Jr. announced that CEM7 will take place in San Francisco, California, on June 1–2, 2016. The annual meeting of energy ministers and other high-level delegates from the 23 CEM member countries and the European Commission will provide an opportunity for the major economies to collaborate on solutions that advance clean energy globally and demonstrate tangible follow-up actions to COP21.

The Road from Paris

The agreement reached at COP21 is a critical first step on a long journey. The road from Paris will require sustained innovation, smart policies, global leadership, and international cooperation for many years to come. Forums such as the CEM facilitate the strong international collaboration needed to identify, develop, and implement optimal solutions for various markets and geographies. The CEM’s multilateral approach enables proven policies, programs, and technologies to realize broader, faster, and lower-cost diffusion and replication among CEM and non-CEM countries. With new goals and commitments put forward by countries as part of the Paris Agreement, the CEM has crucial work ahead to help countries reach those goals.

For more information about the Clean Energy Ministerial, contact the CEM Secretariat.