June 16, 2017 Read More →

Trump Administration Closes Office Specializing in Global Clean-Tech Expertise

New York Times:

The Energy Department is closing an office that works with other countries to develop clean energy technology, another sign of the Trump administration’s retreat on climate-related activities after its withdrawal from the Paris agreement this month.

The 11 staff members of the Office of International Climate and Technology were told this month that their positions were being eliminated, according to current and former agency employees. The office was formed in 2010 to help the United States provide technical advice to other nations seeking to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The small office also played a lead role preparing for the annual Clean Energy Ministerial, a forum in which the United States, China, India and other countries shared insights on how best to promote energy efficiency, electric vehicles and other solutions to climate change.

Closing the Office of International Climate and Technology could make cooperation on clean energy with other countries much harder, said Graham Pugh, who headed the office from 2011 to 2014. While both the State and Energy Departments still have separate programs to engage with China, Brazil and other countries, the office being eliminated specialized in applying the agency’s technical expertise to other nations’ efforts to advance clean energy projects.

The office played an important role, for instance, in helping India develop its own lighting efficiency standards and start a program to purchase LED lamps in bulk for consumers. “That program will lead to massive savings in terms of avoided carbon dioxide emissions and air pollution,” said Jonathan Elkind, who was an assistant secretary for the Energy Department’s Office of International Affairs during the Obama administration.

“Unfortunately there is an incredible dissonance between the declared interest of this administration to continue to lead on clean energy, and their actions,” Mr. Elkind said.

Energy Department Closes Office Working on Climate Change Abroad

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