U.S. Energy Secretary Announces $350M for Clean Energy Tech in Developing World

In an initiative that we heard vaguely referenced over the weekend, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has announced an international agreement that will see developed nations give $350 million, including $85 million from the U.S., to developing nations . Called the Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (REDI), the plan will fund technology in the developing world, including solar lanterns, standards and labels for energy efficient appliances, and online clean energy communication tools.

Given the current state of the negotiations in Copenhagen — African delegates have walked out of the talks for the time being over concerns that the Kyoto Protocol draft is being ignored — and the fact that there has been little progress on getting long term financial commitments from many developed nations to help developing nations mitigate and adapt to climate change, the REDI funds could be seen as a minor side note that falls flat.

The UN says that the developing world will need $10 billion per year in funding just to kick off the process of adaptation and mitigation of carbon emissions. The U.S. has agreed to give “its fair share” to that funding, but on Monday several high profile delegates said little had been decided on the issue of long term financing. Some are calling that $10 billion per year inadequate, including billionaire investor and philanthropist George Soros who last week presented an idea to move $100 billion from the International Monetary Fund to help the developing world fight global warming.

The developing world clearly needs a lot of funding and fast. Some of the nations in the developing world will be the first hit by the effects of climate change. Tiny island nations like Tuvalu, Micronesia and the Maldives made big headlines last week telling the world that adapting to climate change is literally an issue of survival. The African continent will be one of the first and hardest hit by water shortages exacerbated by climate change.

Image courtesy of D.Light.

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