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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial July 19-20th

FPC Briefing
David Sandalow
AssistantSecretary of Energy for Policy & International Affairs
Foreign Press
Washington, DC
July 15, 2010


Date: 07/15/2010 Location: Washington D.C. Description: Assistant Secretary of Energy for Policy & International Affairs David Sandalow previews the Upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial (July 19-20th) at the Washington Foreign Press Center.  - State Dept Image

Audio

4:30 P.M. EDT

MODERATOR: Good afternoon. I’m sorry for the delay. Thank you for your patience. We have our Assistant Secretary from the Department of Energy for Policy and International Affairs with us to inform you about the upcoming Clean Energy Ministerial.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Thank you very much and thanks to the center for hosting me here. My name is David Sandalow. I am the Assistant Secretary for Policy and International Affairs at the U.S. Department of Energy.

Next week, Secretary Chu will be hosting the world’s first Clean Energy Ministerial. It will be Monday, July 19th and Tuesday, July 20th here in Washington, D.C. Secretary Chu is honored to be hosting ministers and other senior officials from more than 21 governments from around the world as well as CEOs and other global leaders in the area of clean energy.

The goal of the Clean Energy Ministerial is to promote collaboration on policies and programs that accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy. The goal of the Clean Energy Ministerial is action. With this meeting, we hope to accelerate the world’s transition to clean energy, engaging governments and stakeholders with this important challenge.

Among the topics that will be discussed are energy efficiency, renewable energy such as solar and wind power, carbon capture, providing energy to people who lack energy resources around the world, and the role of women in the energy sector. We are pleased by the response that this meeting has received both from governments and private stakeholders. We have leading ministers from many countries around the world who will be coming to Washington, D.C., and the governmental meetings will be held on Monday, July 19th.

On Tuesday, July 20th, the U.S. Department of Energy will host a public forum at the Ronald Reagan Building in Washington, D.C., and at this public forum we will have public panels with energy leaders talking about all the topics that I just mentioned as well as announcements of specific actions that are being taken by governments and the private sector.

We have much more information on this meeting at www.cleanenergyministerial.org. I urge you to go to the website and look at what we’ve posted there about the meeting. It does include registration details, including for press and also for the public at large.

At our public forum on Tuesday, July 20th, attendance is free but registration is required and actually limited by available seating, which is becoming an issue. But we urge anyone interested to go register for the event.

So we are very excited about the opportunities at this meeting, look for – what we’re looking for as the goal is – as goals are action to promote clean energy and to launch a process that will make a difference for our children and grandchildren in the years ahead.

With that, I’m happy to take any questions.

MODERATOR: Please wait for the microphone so we can have your question (inaudible).

QUESTION: Thank you. Sonia Schott with Globovision, Venezuela. I would like to know if you have a list or you can name the countries are going to attend, specifically Latin American countries. Specifically, I would like to know if Venezuela is going to attend. And I will how do you assess the engagement of oil-producer countries in these kind of meetings – like Venezuela. Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Thank you. It’s a great question. You can – I can read off the list of countries who are going and I can also direct you to our website, which has all of these countries as well the officials who have accepted to lead the delegation. But let me read the list just now and I’ll read it maybe quicker than you can take notes, but just so you’ve got it.

We have Australia – Belgium, as the EU president – Brazil, Canada, China, Denmark, the European Commission, Finland, France, Germany, India, Italy, Korea, Japan, Mexico, Norway, the Russian Federation, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, the United Arab Emirates, and the United Kingdom. So that’s the list.

To answer your question, the Latin American countries who are attending would be Mexico and Brazil. And we’re greatly looking forward to their participation in the meeting. Venezuela is not part of this meeting. As you will recall, Venezuela was part of a meeting that we hosted here a couple of months ago, the Energy and Climate Partnership of the Americas, and we were very pleased by Minister Ramirez’s attendance at that meeting and look forward to working with Venezuela on technical issues related to energy in the months ahead.

QUESTION: What happened after the meeting that Venezuela is not going to attend this one?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Well, this was generated based upon the countries that have participated in similar processes in the past and expressed strong interest in these sets of issues.

QUESTION: Thanks. I was waiting if there were questions on the meeting. My name is Andrei Sitov. I am with TASS, the Russian News Agency, and thank you, sir, for doing this and thanks as always to our good friends at the FPC for arranging the meeting. I have a couple of questions, specific questions, on Russia, maybe not necessarily specifically related to the meeting itself. That’s why I hesitated a little bit.

The first question is about the 1-2-3 agreement. As you know, it’s in the process of being ratified. Not everyone is happy with the agreement in the U.S. Congress, so I wanted to ask you how confident you are about its passage and what benefits it will bring to the United States as a way of responding to some implied criticism in Congress. That’s number one.

Number two, the Russian Minister Shmatko will be coming to attend the meeting and I understand that after the meeting they will also have this working group under our presidential commission on our bilateral cooperation. And (inaudible) my question is about what’s on the agenda for the working group or what do you plan to achieve. Thank you, sir.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Thank you for your question. With all respect, I am going to limit this briefing to the topic I came to speak about, which is the Clean Energy Ministerial. With respect to the 1-2-3 agreement, that’s something that I would invite you to follow up with the Department of Energy Press Office and we’d be happy to get your our comment on that 1-2-3 agreement.

With respect to Minister Shmatko’s arrival here next week, we’re very pleased to be welcoming him here both for the multilateral meeting and for bilateral discussions with Secretary Chu. And Secretary Chu and Minister Shmatko have already met on a couple of occasions and I know we are very much looking forward to deepening that conversation on a wide range of energy issues.

QUESTION: Teresa Bouza with EFE from Spain. Just regarding the – for media coverage, I went to your website and I see that everything is on Tuesday, right? On Monday you don’t have any public events?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: We do have open press event on Monday morning. The opening of our sessions on Monday morning will be open press. And it’s – what is it, 9 o'clock? Yes, 9 o'clock at the Ritz Carlton Hotel.

QUESTION: I mean, just covering the opening or is there any press conference on Monday or –

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: There is no press conference on Monday. So yes, thank you for the question. To be clear, we have a 9 o'clock opening event meeting, which we’re inviting the press into. Secretary Chu will give remarks to open the meeting, but no press conference on Monday. And then the ministers will meet all day Tuesday – actually, they have a very full schedule on Tuesday – and there’ll be a press conference first thing Tuesday morning to talk about what they’ve done on Monday. So – and that’s going to be at 9 o'clock on Tuesday morning at the Reagan Building. Is that right? Yes.

QUESTION: Brian Beary from Europolitics. Can you say what is the background? Why did this meeting come about? And secondly, will you be discussing possible moratoria on deep water oil drilling at all?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: The answer to the second question is no, that’s not on the agenda for this meeting. This meeting will be focused on promoting the transition to clean energy technology.

The answer to the first question is multipart. You asked where the meeting came from. Part of its heritage comes from a meeting of the heads of the state of the Major Economies Forum a year ago in L’Aquila, Italy, where there was an agreement by those heads of state to launch a process related to clean energy technology. Part of it comes – let me add, from that process, there were a series of technology action plans created which provide an intellectual foundation for some of this work.

Part of the impetus for the meeting comes from conversations that Secretary Chu has been having with his counterparts around the world about the transition to clean energy and opportunities that he and his counterparts see. And so the countries participating in this meeting are those that were part of the Major Economies Forum process a year ago as well as some others who have expressed strong interest in the topic of clean energy.

MODERATOR: I’m going to take a question from New York. Sir, if you could identify yourself.

QUESTION: Thank you. This is Pincas Jawetz from Sustainable Development Media. I’m comparing your website, the list of participants, with a list of participants that just met in Rome under the Major Economies Forum. I am missing Indonesia from among the major economies that belong to the 17. And I’m also missing Bangladesh, Barbados, Ethiopia, and Singapore that could have presented a point of interest. It looked like what they did in Rome, they picked one country from each different region. And how are you going to fill this void?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Thank you very much for that question. There is a regional meeting in South Asia which apparently creates a conflict for the Indonesian officials, they’ve advised us. But we certainly have a robust engagement with Indonesia on clean energy issues in a variety of fora and hope we can build on that and continue to expand it.

This is a meeting of 80 percent of the world’s clean energy markets. It’s not the whole world. It’s a number of major countries. That inevitably means that there will be some countries who won’t be invited if you’re not including every single one. And we’re delighted to have a broad cross-section of countries from every region of the world with a variety of different interests in the energy space and the energy sector. But as you point out, we haven’t invited everybody.

QUESTION: Yes, on the meeting then, I wanted to ask you if there are any specific projects on clean energy that you are doing with the Russians or that you are planning to do with the Russians (inaudible). Thank you.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Well, with respect to announcements at the meeting, I would urge you to wait till the meeting itself and there will be announcements. I’m not going to announce now ahead of the ministers’ arrival. So I’d just urge you – this is just intended to describe what will be happening in broad outline.

With respect to the Russian Federation overall, there’s a number of projects that the U.S. Government has underway in the area of clean energy and --

QUESTION: (Inaudible.)

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Some projects in particular on energy efficiency and opportunities of working together on energy efficiency; in district heating, for example, which is a big issue in parts of the Russian Federation; in energy efficiency in the building sector. We’ve also had programs with the Russian Federation on oil and gas production of different kinds. And I’d be actually delighted to follow up with you with additional detail on that.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you.

MODERATOR: Yes. Go ahead. Thank you.

QUESTION: Okay. Thank you, from China. And in May, Secretary Gary Locke led a clean energy trade mission to China and we wonder if there is any follow-up development between China and the U.S. in that clean energy joint program.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Any developments?

QUESTION: Yeah, follow-up after that.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Oh, follow-up.

QUESTION: Yeah.

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Yes, and you remind me – Secretary Gary Locke will be a speaker at our public forum at the lunch on Tuesday. And I know Secretary Locke has been very active and working on the clean energy issues in China, as has my boss, Secretary Steven Chu. We have lots of follow-up on our clean energy work with China.

I was in China in May as part of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. And as part of those meetings, we had issued a joint statement on energy security between the two nations which emphasized the important role of clean energy and energy security, and announced a series of specific steps forward. We’re also working together on a U.S.-China clean energy research center and are moving forward on that project. That focuses on clean vehicles, clean coal, and building efficiency.

And there’s a number of other issues and topics as well that we’re working very closely on, including renewable energy, shale gas, and monitoring of different types of pollutants. So there’s a very strong set of cooperative arrangements between the two – or a relationship between the two countries at this point on the topic of clean energy.

MODERATOR: Another question?

ASSISTANT SECRETARY SANDALOW: Well, thank you all very much. Appreciate it.

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