U.S. unveils plan to rev up clean technology in poor nations

Nations pledge funds to make renewable energy more accessible

By Juliet Eilperin
Washington Post
Monday, December 14, 2009

COPENHAGEN — Energy Secretary Steven Chu on Monday announced a five-year, $350-million international plan to deploy clean technology in developing countries. The effort that includes such things as putting solar lanterns in poor households and promoting advanced energy-efficient appliances worldwide, administration officials said.

The Climate Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative is an attempt by the United States and other industrialized nations to help curb energy consumption in countries that will help determine if global greenhouse emissions keep rising or level off.

“No matter what pledges are made here in Copenhagen, global emissions cannot be cut without widespread deployment of clean energy technologies,” said Paul W. Bledsoe, a spokesman with the D.C.-based National Commission on Energy Policy.

The initiative — which includes $85 million from the United States and donations from industrialized nations such as Italy and Australia — aims to make energy-saving technology that already exists cheap enough to penetrate markets in India, parts of Africa and elsewhere. It is distinct from the major financing package the United States is expected to unveil this week as part of a broader climate deal.

Michael A. Levi, an energy and environment fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said the launch was unlikely to affect the ongoing negotiations here, “but it will have a big impact on climate change and actual energy use.”

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