Foreign Press Center Briefing on "Harnessing Clean Energy Innovation for Climate Resilience"

Foreign Press Center Briefing on

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MODERATOR: Good morning and  welcome to the Washington   Foreign Press Center briefing on  harnessing clean energy innovation   for climate resilience. My name is Jen  McAndrew and I am today’s moderator. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference  is expected to be the most important meeting on   climate change since the 2015 Paris Agreement.  As the effects of climate change intensify,   the Biden-Harris administration has  prioritized clean energy innovation   as essential to effectively reduce greenhouse  gas emissions and improve climate resilience.

In the leadup to COP26, our briefer today is Amy  Myers Jaffe, managing director at the Climate   Policy Lab at Tufts University and a leading  expert on global energy policy and sustainability,   and author of the new book Energy’s  Digital Future. Today she will make   a scholarly perspective – she will provide a  scholarly perspective on the future of energy,   how clean energy innovation is  altering international dynamics,   and how the United States can ensure economic  competitiveness and national security through   sustainable energy. We thank her for sharing  her expertise today with the foreign press. And now for the ground rules.  This briefing is on the record.   The views expressed by briefers not affiliated  with the Department of State are their   own and do not necessarily reflect those of  the Department of State or the U.S. Government.   Participation in Foreign Press Center  programming does not imply endorsement, approval,   or recommendation of their views. We will post  the transcript of this briefing later today on  

our website, and our briefer will give opening  remarks and then we’ll open it up for Q&A. And with that, I will pass  it over to Amy. Over to you. MS JAFFE: Thank you very much, Jen. Well, it’s  a pleasure to be here and answer your questions.   I’m going to start out by giving sort of an  overview and then I’m going to do a slightly   deeper dive on what’s happening in energy  innovation, especially in the digital space.

So this year has been a dramatic year for many  different reasons, but especially because of   the exponential increase in catastrophic  events related and linked to the effects   of climate change. It’s becoming clearer,  I think, around the world but especially   in the United States how large a problem this  is and the nature of it as a global challenge.   Over 70 percent of Americans now want  to prioritize climate change policy,   and so it’s been a very big feature  in recent American politics. In terms of climatic events and dislocation –  economic and human – it’s been near universal   this year. We’ve seen problems in  oil producing countries, we’ve seen   terrible problems in the global south, and  then, of course, also big impacts in Europe   and the United States and the rest of the  OECD. So that really leads up to the importance   of the meetings at Glasgow coming up next month.

As many of you know, the United States has  announced that it is committing to a 50 to   52 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions  by 2030 and carbon-free power generation by 2035.   These are big order targets and there’s a  bill, as many of you have watched in the news,   in front of the Congress with a lot of  give-and-take negotiations on how to achieve   those targets, especially the close-in  targets. But I think the bottom line is   to get to where we need to be globally and  also in the United States, that’s going to   require new technologies and the application  of existing cross-cutting technologies. The United States has in the past focused  on prioritizing clean energy innovation   and in the past decade, without a stop, federal  spending on clean energy has been very consistent   because of bipartisan support in the Congress.  But, of course, there’s a belief that   we need to accelerate what we’re doing  both in the United States and globally.   The IEA, International  Energy Agency, has suggested   that something to the order of $350 billion a year  needs to be spent to accelerate energy innovation.

To put that into context, in 2019 here  at Climate Policy Lab, we’re one of the   premiere organizations that tracks spending  on global energy innovation and R&D. In 2019,   the total aggregate was $20 billion, of  which the United States share was 7 billion.   And so the process of raising the U.S.  commitment and then having the United States  

lead in encouraging other countries  to raise their commitments is on the   agenda in the United States political arena.  But, of course, Europe has been very leading   in its green stimulus and some other  countries, so a lot going on in the world. That means that the United States   must invest in this space to keep itself  economically competitive. The international energy  

latest report on technology said that over  50 percent of the technologies they see   needed to get to net zero by 2050 are not  yet commercialized and therefore require   deep acceleration. The International Energy Agency  focuses a lot on a few technologies like carbon   sequestration and storage, but there are other  opportunities that are coming because of new   computer-assisted digital technologies,  and those come into several spheres. One is greater electrification of the energy  system. The second thing that could be facilitated   by new technology would be to develop  better and more efficient and long-duration   hydrogen and battery storage and other storage  technologies. We’re going to see a great – we   already have seen a great enhancement of energy  efficiency through optimization and efficiency, so   think about e-commerce delivering goods to people  in ways that are optimized by big data and require   a lot less transportation fuel to get products to  market. We’ve studied that in the United States,  

and actually there’s less carbon emissions  if Amazon or one of the other big vendors   brings you your e-commerce stuff. That actually  is more energy efficiency than every individual   person using their own transportation to go to  the store or the mall, so some potential there. And I think one of the most challenging things  we’re seeing is the sort of disagreement among the   environmental community and others about the place  for carbon sequestration in the final solution. I   know there’s debates about that in Europe. We’re  having debates about that in the United States. One of the interesting things that I wrote  about in my book, Energy’s Digital Future,   is how do we not create new path dependencies  as we put in new digital infrastructure. So as  

we go to 5G, as we go to automated vehicles and  other kinds of new technologies – battery systems   – how do we do that in a way that lowers carbon  emissions and doesn’t increase carbon emissions?   We’re already having the challenge of retiring  existing energy infrastructure, some of which   is the same technology we were using in the  early 1900s. And so modernizing infrastructure   and energy infrastructure in particular is already  a challenge, and so we don’t want to make that   worse by adding in drones and self-driving taxis  and other kinds of equipment that could really   lower emissions but have them go in the  opposite direction, which was happening prior   to the pandemic with some of the ride-hailing  services in major cities in the United States. So California has been very  leading in this area. This week,   in fact, they just passed a landmark law requiring  automated vehicles to be zero emissions by 2030   to operate in the state of California. This  is a big deal. For those of you who watch  

the digital sector closely, you know that a  lot of the digital companies coming in with   autonomous vehicles are located in California.  They’re testing those vehicles in California.   They’re trying to provide  those services in California. And California also has a leading role  for a U.S. basis, very similar to Europe,   where they are – have passed a bill  to prohibit gasoline and hybrid power   vehicles for new sales – I’m sorry.  For gasoline vehicle, new sales   are going to end in 2035, so a ban on IC  engines, basically, and diesel. And under the new  

AV law, gasoline and hybrid power AVs are not  going to be allowed to operate in California.   California also has a zero emissions target  for commercial trucks and vans. I think that’s   probably going to be something we’re going to  see in the United States federally over time   as the pressure comes to clean up the lower  carbon emissions further beyond the power sector. And I’ll just mention, because I know that  there is some interest in how – given Glasgow is   upcoming, how would the United States lower its  emissions. Many countries are having difficulty   lowering their emissions. That’s been really  brought to the fore in the last couple of weeks  

with disruptions to renewable energy in Europe and  in China, where the drought lowered hydroelectric   power. We’re seeing a shift back to coal in some  places, so this is a big challenge globally. In the United States over the last 14,  15 years, we’ve been able to eliminate   800 million tons of carbon emissions  equivalent through the shifting to natural gas.   There is an intention in the United States to   enhance that by moving much more quickly  to renewable energy, though that is still   the largest – new installations in the United  States are all renewables. Big effort in the East  

Coast of the United States and now possibly  California looking at deep offshore wind. Right now, 38 percent of U.S. power  generation is carbon-free. Eighteen percent   of that is renewables. Twenty  percent of that is nuclear energy.   And the power sector is about a  quarter of all U.S. emissions. So in front of the Congress right now, there is  a provision in one of the various bills that are   going through reconciliation at this time  called the Clean Electricity Payment Program.   That program seems to not be one of the big sticky  points for how to get a bill through Congress,   so that could be good news for the United  States commitments that could be committed to   this round of climate talks. And that is a  interesting, innovative system where utilities  

will be able to get credits if they increase their  clean energy share above a certain threshold that   would be determined based on their past practice  and trajectory, but then also putting in penalties   for utilities that are lagging and have  carbon-intensive generation capacity. So with that, I think I’ve given you a little  bit of an overview of the landscape, but happy to   field your questions and talk to you about the  outlook for climate policy in the United States. MODERATOR: Thank you. So we will now begin the Q&A  for today’s briefing. And if you would like to ask   a question, you can please raise your hand using  the raise hand function or submit it in the chat. We did have one advance question submitted, which  I will read now. And this is from Katharina Kort   from Handelsblatt in Germany, and her question  was: “What does the infrastructure bill mean   for clean energy in the U.S., how important is  e-mobility, and what role should hydrogen play?”

MS JAFFE: So, excellent question. The bill  is very important for the development of   clean energy in the United States.  It attempts to mirror some of the   great policies coming out of the EU for its  clean energy initiative. I wish I could say   that the United States has a very robust,  forward policy in this bill, but it remains   to be seen what they’ll keep in the bill and  what won’t stay in the bill. But ultimately,   the U.S. Government is definitely focused  on providing public funds to promote  

energy storage through the Loan  Guarantee Program, and also in R&D. There’s some discussion and debate,   a little pushback from the Republican side on  whether or not tax credits could be extended to   battery storage. It’s a very important  technology getting a lot of momentum in   the United States. The United States would like to  be a leader – is kind of a leader in that field. We have a lot of American firms that are operating  around the world putting in a very innovative   technology. I call it virtual power plant. That’s  what it’s called in the United States. So where  

we – instead of having a traditional utility-scale  wind farm or solar farm where there’s a battery   associated with that at the utility  scale, new programs are where you take   a housing community or an apartment building or  New York City is looking to do it more broadly   and individual homeowners or businesses have a  smaller battery that is in their facility, and   that battery is aggregated with 100 batteries  or 300 batters in the same geographic area.   And a utility vendor, a vendor that works with the  utility is able to tap the electricity stored, the   excess electricity stored in that battery beyond  the needs of the individual owner of the battery,   and that can be aggregated to supplement  renewables when the wind isn’t blowing or   when there’s a heat wave, and so you have  a peak, demand is higher than normal. That technology has a lot of promise. Very leading  companies in the United States working on that,   installing that technology in the United  States. It’s a great exportable technology.   With automation, with inverters  that – for solar, that can   cut a system off from the grid and make it  independent in times of disruption. So a lot of   technology is coming in that regard. And the same  with hydrogen; it’s very important technology.

And the question I think in the U.S. that  we’re at least studying on the academic side   is whether, like, Denmark and Northwest Europe –  could the United States be leading in development   of green hydrogen from offshore wind, and what  would be the linkage and how would that be done? In the United States, in the natural gas industry,  tremendous amount of interest in blending hydrogen   into existing infrastructure. So we have  our main think tank that looks at technical   testing has shown that in the U.S. system,  under certain kinds of high-level pipelines,   it’s safe to blend 5 percent hydrogen into the  natural gas system. All the leading companies   are doing some pilot or another on hydrogen. One  of the most interesting ones is by Dominion Energy   out of Utah where they’re working with a  utility, local utility – I’m sorry, in Nevada   – to raise the level of hydrogen blending to lower  emissions of a power station, and the idea is that   at some point with the efforts  in California in transportation,   you could have a hydrogen network throughout the  U.S. West that could be linked with renewable  

energy in California, in the Southwest,  and start to build a hydrogen business   in that part of the country. That could be  a hub. You also have businesses in Houston   where there is already an active hydrogen  pipeline network looking to see how   that network could be expanded to allow companies  to do CCS and hydrogen for big, industrial users. So a lot going on on the ground in hydrogen   without the intervention of the federal  government, and I think with a little bit   of a push in assistance from the federal  government, we could see that accelerate. MODERATOR: Thank you. We do have a —

QUESTION: Thank you. MODERATOR: — hand raised from   Pearl Matibe, NewsDay Zimbabwe. Pearl, you  can now unmute yourself and ask your question. QUESTION: Thank you very much, Jen. My question,   Amy, is I’m going to start it with a little bit  of context. So as you may recall, back in 2019  

Zimbabwe, Mozambique, and Malawi were hit with  a devastating Cyclone Idai and Cyclones Kenneth   in between the space of about  six weeks – entirely devastating.   We are now in 2021 and those communities  are not resilient enough and are still   suffering the devastating negative impacts  of what happened due to those two cyclones,   not even to mention the droughts and everything  else that is happening in this region. Okay. So my question – I’d like to take you away  from the Americas conversation and ask you:   What can we expect in the COP, in the meeting  coming up, regarding the conversation about   how Western countries want to quickly upscale what  they’re doing in terms of emissions, whereas those   countries like the ones I just mentioned –  Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Malawi – are not emitting as   much as everybody else,and yet, how do they bring  those things together? So perhaps even from a   scholarly perspective, where are the gaps  in research that – where are researchers   working in examining what countries  like these on the gaps in research   in clean energy? Like, what would clean energy  look like in a fragile, lower-income country   like Zimbabwe? What would clean energy  look like in Mozambique and Malawi? It would not look like what you’re explaining to  me in California or the rest of the United States.  

And so I don’t see how this will be successful  in COP unless the world and countries like the   United States, including in whatever act or  legislation they plan to do in Washington,   takes consideration of how these other  countries that are severely impacted   can be resilient in terms of clean energy. So I’d like to find out from you,  even from a scholarly perspective,   where are the academic institutions and  research that they’re doing about these gaps   in the body of knowledge and the  scholarly conversation on these issues? MS JAFFE: Well, Pearl, you’re making my day  because the exact topic that you’re asking me   about is what we work on in my center at the  Fletcher School at Tufts University. And we   just completed an evaluation looking  at what countries in the world   are ranked lowest on the climate  resilience. There are these   climate resilience indexes for the worst-hit  countries. You might have heard of ND-GAIN or   some of the other global indexes. They tend to use  different metrics for how they define resilience.   So we looked at the different indexes and we  – trying – we did a first cut trying to pare   those countries that are unable to move  down the ranks – so if you were the most   vulnerable country on the ND-GAIN two years ago,  are you now in the top 10 still, or you’re still   in the top position? So looking at that  evaluation of which countries are hardest hit.

There’s another index that’s really, to your  point, really much more looks at devastation from   actual events as opposed to slow onset  climate impacts. And we’re trying to   work – and I think the U.S. Government is very  interested in this work – we’re trying to work   to look at the disconnect or connection of what  climate adaptation funding that’s been provided   through the global climate meetings and,  as I acknowledge, not properly funded   by the international community to  the levels that have been committed. But of the funding that has been spent, has it  been effective? Have countries that received   these funds in agriculture and other sectors,  has it helped them be more resilient or not?   What can we do not only to increase the number  of dollars that the United States and the OECD   and China and others commit to helping countries  like Zimbabwe with adaptation to climate change   – not only raising the level of ambition  and the amount of money that’s extended,   but how do we make the money  that’s extended more effective?   And I think that that’s a very important  topic, and it’s important beyond just whether   we’re going to close some coal plants in Africa  somewhere. It’s much more important to understand   that the spending that we’re doing on making  countries more resilient to events is effective.

And so I think that’s a high priority for us  and our research agenda. I know from talking   to officials at the U.S. Department of State,  high priority inside the U.S. State Department.   And I see that as a important element to the  climate talks beyond some of the more publicized   conversations. And just – speaking just  personally, I would say that I personally  

would like to see more emphasis on that, and  I’ll talk to you in a minute about what to do in   energy systems, and less talk about 2050 net zero  commitments. Because it’s easy for politicians all   around the world to make some fancy pronouncement  about their net zero 2050 commitment, because it   doesn’t mean they have to do anything this year.  And we need to start doing things this year.   And so that would be my recommendation  as an academic studying climate change   for what leaders need to be focused on at the  summit, that they should move away from this   over-emphasis on 2050 and start talking about  what we’re going to do in the next five years,   and trying to raise ambition  for the next five years. I   do note that President Biden was effective  in getting some commitments from our allies   in Japan and Canada and elsewhere in raising  ambition out to 2035 at his climate summit. But absolutely, thinking about how to connect  economic development, Pearl, in countries like   Zimbabwe with energy planning is a big, big issue.  Because throughout the African continent, you see  

this disconnect where governments like Ghana and  South Africa and others have these very ambitious   economic development goals that are based  on installing manufacturing businesses   and other kinds of businesses that would  create more employment in those countries,   and yet the planning for the electricity system  is disconnected. And so you have plants coming   online, and there’s not enough electricity service  to have them actually operate at full capacity.   And so people are getting nowhere in terms of  very ambitious investments and commitments to   revitalized economies in light of COVID and  sort of 2030 goals for economic development.

So there’s no question that more work needs to  be done on providing electricity in general. I   was recently speaking with a group from the  World Bank, which is very committed to doing   micro- and mini-grids with renewables. They  are finding most countries are rejecting   that technology as being “unproven.” But the  experience – I mean, I’ve worked in Lesotho   and Malawi, and my experience has been they’re –  I mean, Lesotho’s done a great job adding hydro   and having better service, but they’re just remote  areas in the mountains, and in other parts of   the countries you’re mentioning where it’s not  practical to put in a centralized power station   and think that there’s also going to  be funding to bring transmission lines   that are stable and sustainable  throughout the entire country. And so I do think that – I understand when people  talk about these novel technologies that they’re   using in California, it seems very disconnected  from the needs of people in a place like Zimbabwe,   but I don’t actually believe that from my own  experience. I actually believe that especially  

in light of climatic events, it’s much faster  to restore a solar panel system with a battery.   That could take a week, whereas if some giant,  thermal power station gets damaged in a cyclone,   that could be two years before that could be  repaired fully. And then all the transmission   lines come down, it’s a lot of repair that  has to take place – flooding and so forth. So I think this belief that somehow the West is  foisting this innovative, expensive California   technology in a one-size-fits-all to  the global south is really inaccurate,   because I think that some of those technologies  are better suited to being resilient and,   therefore, they might offer better solutions for  people to have electricity service be resilient   in the face of the kind of  shocks we’re going to be seeing.

MODERATOR: Thank you. We do have one  question that was submitted in the chat,   and then I see we have another hand raised. And  Katharina, I’ll come to you after this question. This question in the chat is from Ines Zoettl  from Capital Magazine in Germany. Her question is:   You were talking about carbon sequestration.  In your view, where are the most exciting   projects developed and what role can it  play in reducing emissions in the U.S.?

MS JAFFE: Well, I would say sadly, right now,  there is no exciting carbon sequestration   project. It’s a technology that those companies  that have experimented with it have not had   great success in terms of keeping the costs low.   There is a new technology that’s being  experimented with in Texas, which is a natural   gas thermal power station that has an experimental  technology that actually burns the CO2 and,   therefore, is an emission-free facility. We’re  still waiting to see how that technology pans out.

But my opinion, again, as a professor – I know  that carbon sequestration is not a popular   technology. There was 100 – believe it or not,  150 civic environmental groups wrote a letter   of protest to the International Energy Agency  saying that its net zero forecast should not –   should avoid optimism about carbon sequestration  and look to only renewable energy as a solution.   I think that when you think about the kinds of  disruptions we’re seeing with the intermittency   of renewables, there are a lot  of technical solutions coming   – different kinds of long-duration  batteries, hydrogen and so forth.   But I think we should really consider  the potential for carbon sequestration.

And what I would say is: Unlike some  of these digital technologies that   have dual-use military applications or might  have national security implications for cyber   and other kinds of emerging challenges, one of  the great things about carbon sequestration is   that it doesn’t have any additional applications.  And so as a technology, it’s a great area to have   cooperation between the United States and China,  between different countries in trying to develop   a cost effective, safe, and environmentally  friendly to sequester carbon and store it,   or to reuse it in some format to reshape  the carbon into some usable material. Also I think there’s a great need,  given the development programs, again,   going back to Pearl’s question. A lot of countries  in Africa and Southeast Asia have a cement and   steel-based development plan where they want  to do it based on construction of roads and   buildings and expansion of cities, and all those  activities are highly carbon intensive and that   is not a reason to ask those countries not to  develop. But we need to be thinking about how to  

provide cement and steel in a way that’s more  environmentally friendly, less carbon intensive. And so institutions like Mission Innovation,  where major economies are working on   technology, research, and development really want  to focus on experimental ways to produce cement   and hydrogen and other kinds of technologies  that can be used by heavy industry. And that’s   really an important area where multilateral R&D  can take place, there’s no national security,   it could be patents that are used all over the  world. It’s just an easier place for cooperation   and I do think that it has potential, and  especially if we develop the technology with   the kind of guardrails that are important so that  it doesn’t have the kinds of things that people   worry about, will there be a problem with what  happens to the carbon after it’s sequestered.

But if we can come up with safe, effective  ways where we’re not just using it as an   excuse to continue to pollute, I think that  it has potential, and really there’s a lot   of area for cooperation among countries that  could be – one of the big problems in Mission   Innovation is that state enterprises globally  are – countries – China, the United States,   Mexico and others are greening their R&D spending,  but that is not happening in state enterprises   as quickly as needed. And there’s a lot of money  still going in at the state enterprise level to   oil and gas drilling technologies and other  kinds of technologies to promote the use of   fossil fuel without carbon sequestration. So  getting more buy-in from countries as part of   Mission Innovation to have their state enterprises  focus together with CCS and partnerships,   public-private partnerships, with the U.S. would  be a very constructive way of addressing CCS. MODERATOR: Thank you. I’ll now call on Katharina  Kort, Handelsblatt, to ask a question. Katharina? QUESTION: Yes, hello. Thank you also for answering  the first questions. I need to come back to the   spending and infrastructure bills, which should  jump-start the climate change in the U.S.  

I have a question because in those bills, there  are quite a few limitations, like Buy America,   that might limit especially European companies.  So I would like to know from you: Do you feel   that these limits that ask for especially U.S.  labor or U.S. steel or whatever, and windmills,   might slow down the climate change in the U.S.? MS JAFFE: That’s a very tricky question, and  luckily I’m an academic so I don’t have to   be terribly diplomatic. What I would say to  you – and I’m sure you can understand this,  

sitting where you’re sitting – the  whole question of just transition   and who benefits, and who doesn’t benefit,  is a big, important issue globally.   In the global south, in relation to the  global north; in Germany, in China, India   – so many people are employed in coal in India  that coming up with a way to green that economy   without throwing half the country out of work is  really a challenge, and also is a fairness issue. So in the United States during the Obama  administration, a lot of federal funding   went and – into clean energy, and a lot of the  beneficiaries were in states you can imagine   they would be in, like California or some on  the East Coast. And there were some states   that have green banks, and so they were better  positioned to take advantage of federal spending,   so – and match it. So what we need to do now  is we need to make sure that the next round   of climate spending is fairer, that  it goes throughout the whole country.

In our lab, we’ve backed something that’s  in the bill called the Accelerator.   We think there needs to be something like your  national development bank in Germany which helped   propel rooftop solar and other innovative  technologies. So this bill has a   stipulation for a – sort of a  national green bank of sorts.   We think that’s very important to support  states and local businesses, smaller entities,   and new innovation across the United States and  in parts of the country where jobs might be lost. QUESTION: My question was also a little more like  there are some advanced technologies in Europe   that – do you feel that they might not  be applied because of the limitations — MS JAFFE: No. QUESTION: Oh, yeah. MS JAFFE: I don’t think so. I mean, in the end  we do still have the tariff on solar panels. But  

the United States is a pretty open market, and  if somebody has a winning technology and they’re   going to be able to put that – I mean, Orsted is  going to be a big investor in New England wind,   for example. So if there’s a technology  that’s a winning technology and it’s   competitive, it’ll be taken up by  businesses in the United States. I think what’s really – what you’re hearing and  what you’re thinking about maybe is a little bit   disconnected. I mean, we’re talking about how  to deploy U.S. federal dollars to propel U.S.  

companies to employ Americans. And we have  had a history in the past where some of our   loan guarantee programs and others have  benefitted foreign investors, which means   that some of the profits and employment is  elsewhere, and I think there’s a sense in   the United States that if we’re spending federal  dollars – federal tax dollars – to create jobs,   we shouldn’t be creating those jobs in Europe –  you have your own plan to create jobs in Europe   – we should be creating jobs in the United  States for our own population that needs   to transition in a just way. And I think  that the focus of the Build Back Better   is our own infrastructure, our own companies,  much the same way in Europe that is your focus.   You’re not sending your trillion-dollar clean  tech initiative to American companies; you’re   focused on European battery manufacturing,  and European jobs, and European offshore   wind. So same as the United States. I  don’t think there’s any difference there.

But obviously, that’s part of the whole  question of the title of the talk,   about American competitiveness. If Europe’s going  to have incredibly competitive technologies,   that means the United States really needs to do  the same thing if we’re going to create jobs here.   Our technologies have to be as good as Europe’s  technologies or, hopefully, in some cases, better.   But Germany’s electric car program involves  factories by Tesla, which is the company   that benefited from the last round of  infrastructure spending in the United   States. They got a loan to open their  first factory in Freeport, California  

– Fremont, California, and that led  to a greater success of the company,   which is now an international leader in  electric vehicles with a factory in Germany. QUESTION: Thank you. MODERATOR: Okay. I’d like to, as we come to the  end of our time, maybe ask Amy if you could just   speak to what kind of new commitments can we  expect from COP26 looking ahead to Glasgow. MS JAFFE: I’m a little hopeful that we’re  going to see some good 2030 and 2035   announcements complementing what was already  accomplished at the climate summit with President   Biden. I’m heartened by the fact that China  and Japan and others have made a commitment to  

ending the financing of new coal-fired  power stations. I agree with Pearl that   you can’t just end finance; you also have  to look at what are the alternatives for   making sure there is sufficient electricity in  countries in the Global South. Our research at   Climate Policy Lab has showed that a lot  of the momentum for coal-fired plants   is coming from the lack of energy reform policies  in the countries themselves. It’s not like  

China or Japan or others were out  pushing people to buy coal plants. And so we have to think about – I mean,  I’ll just give you an example from Africa   that I know off the top of my head, but  there – I’m sure there are many others.   Lesotho is lacking the funds to expand its  hydroelectric power, but it has more potential   and it could share that with Mozambique and  South Africa and other countries around Lesotho,   and it would help Lesotho’s development. But there  has been this push to go to coal because it’s   cheaper, but it’s only cheaper because we’re  not accounting for the negative externality of   air pollution and the health effects and what  else happens to people from climate change. So again, thinking regionally and thinking  about what each country has in terms of how   it would reform its energy system,  I feel very optimistic. I’ve had   dual-track meetings with the Government  of India, which we’re working with,   and the Government of Indonesia is very good  – it has active climate legislation coming,   including the starting of the carbon market.  And so you’re seeing a lot of leadership  

coming from the developing world and I feel like  that could really create a lot of momentum now   if we could just all sort of,  like, pitch in the same direction. MODERATOR: Thank you. With that, we will conclude  today’s briefing. On behalf of the U.S. Department   of State and Washington Foreign Press Center,  I’d like to thank our briefer for sharing   her expertise today on these critical  questions. Thank you, and good morning.

2021-10-06 13:55

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