San Francisco, CA – On June 2, 2016, the United States hosted energy leaders from 23 countries and the European Union for the Seventh Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) and the inaugural Mission Innovation Ministerial (MI). This is the first meeting of global energy ministers since the historic Paris Agreement on climate change was signed late last year.
Thanks in part to President Obama’s leadership in the United States, global investment in renewable energy has expanded tremendously, with the highest levels achieved in 2015. Also for the first time last year, over 50% of the world’s new electric capacity was generated by clean sources.
Founded at the Paris conference, MI’s mission is to double public investment in clean energy by 2020. World energy leaders used the ministerial in San Francisco to announce specific plans to meet their targets, with each committing to double approximately $15 billion per year—exceeding the original $10 billion annual estimate—in basic funding for global public investment in clean energy. The leaders also pledged to invest almost $30 billion per year into public clean energy research by 2021. To support implementation and accountability, MI partners approved an Enabling Framework and created a Steering Committee.
Meanwhile, at CEM7, leaders from over 50 companies and organizations joined 10 subnational governments and the 21 countries plus the European Union to pledge over $1.5 billion to accelerate the deployment of new clean energy technologies. Some notable stakeholders who participated in the meeting include Wells Fargo, which pledged $10 million toward creating energy efficient startups in a program coordinated by the U.S. Department of Energy; Stanford University, committing to research how to use 50% clean energy in the electrical grid; and Bill Gates, who is interested in investing in MI countries.
The importance of the two meetings was bolstered by findings released on the same day by Bloomberg New Energy Finance which showcase the irreversible trend toward clean energy growth. Renewable energy installations across the world are on their way to increasing by over 600 percent by 2040, adding approximately 4,900 GW of clean power.
However, in order to avoid raising global temperatures by more than two degrees Celsius, the present target to try and stymie catastrophic climate change, the world will still need an additional 3,000 GW of clean power over the next 25 years above the 4,900 GW projection.
Recognizing that developing new clean energy sources may be insufficient to fend off rapidly growing global temperatures within enough time to make a difference, CEM7 leaders also announced funding for CEM’s Clean Energy Solutions Center and three major campaigns aimed at curbing carbon emissions. The campaigns focus on a number of innovations including developing smart cooling technologies (air conditioners with a substantially smaller carbon footprint) and ultra-efficient lighting.