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Washington, DC - In recent discussions with a broad range of world energy ministers, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu has stressed the need for global cooperation on energy, economic and climate challenges. Over the past several weeks, Secretary Chu's dialogue with representatives of both energy producing and consuming nations has reinforced the Obama Administration's commitment to energy independence and stressed the shared opportunities to create jobs and boost the global economy through energy efficiency and the development of lower carbon fuels.
Secretary Chu has stressed to representatives of OPEC nations that price volatility is not in the best interests of the global economy, and urged them to take this into account during their March 15 meeting. But he has also noted that, because the United States consumes almost 20 percent of the world's oil, by far the most effective way for us to reduce prices is to become more efficient and consume less oil. Additionally, he has conveyed to world energy ministers the Administration's belief that the most effective way to make the world economy less vulnerable to price spikes in oil markets is to diversify our energy sources.
"We will continue to send a strong and clear message to OPEC nations about the importance of protecting the world economy from significant price increases that aren't good for any nation," Secretary Chu said. "But the ultimate answer is to depend less on oil and more on clean and renewable energy. We have a shared responsibility with other nations - and a shared opportunity - to create a generation of new green jobs, reduce energy bills for families, and address the global climate crisis."
One example of the opportunity for global cooperation Secretary Chu has discussed is the development of carbon capture and sequestration technology from coal-fired power plants that can significantly lower greenhouse gas emissions. From the U.S. to China to several European Union countries to Australia to Saudi Arabia, many nations are funding research and development of carbon capture and sequestration technologies. Collaboration and cooperation in this area holds the potential to pilot different experimental technologies in different countries and then learn from the successes and failures of these pilot projects as we improve the technology so it can be broadly deployed. Co-development of these technologies could reduce the cost and allow for faster implementation in heavily coal dependent nations -- holding the potential to significantly reduce future greenhouse gas emissions for the benefit of the entire world.
President Obama's investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources in the United States as part of his American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will create jobs that can't be outsourced. Similarly, investments made by other countries to reduce their own dependence on imported oil and develop renewable energy sources will also benefit those economies. Partnerships to jointly develop more energy efficient building designs that could be implemented from the U.S. to China and beyond also hold the potential to create jobs locally while having global benefits in terms of reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Secretary Chu's discussions over the past several weeks have included:
- Algeria, Chakib Khelil, Minister of Mining and Energy
- Australia, Martin Ferguson, Minister for Resources and Energy
- Brazil, Edison Lobão, Minister of Mines and Energy
- Canada, Lisa Raitt, Minister of Natural Resources
- Canada, Jim Prentice, Minister of the Environment
- Chile, Marcelo Tokman, Minister of Energy
- Denmark, Connie Hedegaard, Minister for Climate and Energy
- European Union, Andris Piebalgs, Commissioner of Energy
- France, Jean-Louis Borloo, Minister for Ecology, Energy, Sustainable Development, and Regional Planning
- Honduras, President Jose Manuel Zelaya Rosales
- Japan, Toshihiro Nikai, Minister of Energy, Trade, and Industry
- Mexico, Dr. Georgina Kessel, Secretary of Energy
- Qatar, Abdallah Bin Hamad Al-Attiyah, Minister of Energy and Industry, and Second Deputy Prime Minister
- United Kingdom, Tony Blair, Former Prime Minister
- United Kingdom, Edward Miliband, Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change