CEM7: Transformational Change Through Energy Productivty Leadership

The 7th Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM7) is underway in San Francisco from June 1-2. CEM7 is the first major meeting of global public sector energy leaders since the United Nations led successful negotiations and crafted a historic agreement in Paris last December. As a result, CEM7 is a pivotal opportunity to prioritize the policies that will help to double global energy productivity by deploying energy efficient technologies and practices.

CEM7 convenes energy ministers, other public sector leaders and businesses from member countries and the European Union. By bringing together global energy stakeholders, CEM is a forum that has both the intent and the ability to drive meaningful policy action to support a clean energy future. Of course, the cleanest energy available is the energy that is never used. The International Energy Agency estimates that energy efficiency will make up half of the solution necessary to meet the Paris goal of keeping global warming to well below 2 degrees Celsius. With this fact in mind, energy-efficient technologies and practices will take center stage as global leaders consider the imperative for profound and transformational change in our world energy systems.

The Global Alliance for Energy Productivity supports the CEM ministers, and advocates that public leaders everywhere set a goal of doubling energy productivity, which will mean doubling the amount of economic output each country gets from every unit of energy consumed. To double energy productivity, the Global Alliance advocates for Energy Productivity Roadmaps, which help build political support to create the necessary opportunities for citizens and businesses to take advantage of the efficient technologies that already exist, and facilitate research and development of the technologies of the future.

It is easy to see why energy productivity should be prioritized: Doubling energy productivity in the United States by 2030 will save an estimated $327 billion annually in avoided energy costs, create 1.3 million jobs, improve energy security and lower greenhouse gas emissions to one-third below the level emitted in 2005. These tangible opportunities that exist in the United States are available to every country in the world, and by collaborating through the forum of the CEM, countries have an opportunity to learn from and challenge one another.

The private sector has a unique opportunity at CEM7 to engage with ministers – both through closed-door roundtable sessions on June 1 and the June 2 Public-Private Action Summit. Not only is this an opportunity to express concerns and needs to energy ministers, but this is, more importantly, a chance for private sector leaders to demonstrate that market solutions are ready to be deployed worldwide.

Private sector leaders are also demonstrating leadership through action. The Climate Group recently launched a corporate energy productivity program, EP100, whereby companies are committing to double their energy productivity within 25 years. Launched in May at the Alliance to Save Energy’s Energy Efficiency Global Forum, Mahindra & Mahindra, Johnson Controls, Inc., and Covestro have signed on, with more commitments on the way.

We can reap the full rewards of doubling energy productivity – including lowered carbon emissions and greater GDP growth. It is this vision that motivates and sustains us as we work to tip the scale toward achieving the goal of doubling energy productivity by employing energy-efficient technologies and practices as a least-cost source of energy. The world does not have to choose between prosperity and clean energy. By focusing on improving energy productivity, we can have both.

Originally published at ASE.org by Elizabeth Mayes and Karen Hughes.