Today, Secretary Chu emphasized the importance of quick action to mitigate climate change, evoking a powerful quote from Martin Luther King, Jr. of the “fierce urgency of now”. And indeed, today the United States and many other countries announced an array of initiatives to boost efficiency, transfer technologies, and invest in research, development and deployment.
After Secretary Chu’s talk, Undersecretary Kristina Johnson chaired a panel of Environment Ministers from Italy, Norway, Germany, Sweden, Korea, Japan, and more. During this session, a number of projects were announced including Italy’s plans to build an grid infrastructure in Northern Africa with the intention of carrying clean renewable electricity to the local population and to Europe. The first bridge of this sort will be constructed between Tunisia and Sicily. The Korean Environmental Minister called for a convergence of efficiency regulations across borders to send a strong signal to manufacturers of appliances and consumer electronics. And Norway emphasized the importance of investing in carbon capture and sequestration to scale up and deploy the technology.
Still, presented with all of these pretty exciting announcements, I do wish there was more of an emphasis on curbing emissions in the near term amongst all of these efforts that will realize reductions much more slowly.
The Swedish State Secretary for Energy, Ola Alterå, closed the meeting by saying that we are still “stuck in old thinking”.