UN Participates in Preparatory Meeting of Major Economies Forum

28 April 2009: The US Government hosted the first preparatory meeting of the Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate from 27-28 April 2009, in Washington, DC, US. The event was attended by Leaders' representatives and other officials from 17 major economies, as well as the UN and Denmark, as host of the December 2009 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference.

Mike Froman, US Deputy National Security Advisor for International Economic Affairs, served as the Chair of this first of three preparatory sessions expected to convene prior to the Leaders Meeting, which will take place in Italy in July 2009. Froman indicated that the Forum seeks to build political momentum to reach a positive outcome in the international climate change negotiations in Copenhagen, as well as to build political support for the development of key transformation technologies to help address the climate change issues. Among other agenda items, John Holdren, US President Obama's science advisor, discussed the science of climate change and how national action plans should address emissions reductions. Representatives from Mexico and South Africa then responded with views on their own national plans. Following US Secretary of Energy Steven Chu's presentation on technologies and policies needed to accelerate the transformation to a clean energy economy, Australia addressed carbon capture and storage and India responded on energy efficiency, particularly in buildings. The heads of delegation also met with President Obama at the White House.

The Chair's Summary of the meeting indicates that “Participants commented on the potential for the Major Economies Forum to support the development of transformational technologies critical to mitigating climate change globally. Many in the group noted that the Forum could provide valuable support and impetus at a political level for the development of critical technologies and supported exploring cooperation on innovation and policies to enable deployment of technologies, including carbon capture and storage, clean coal, buildings, energy efficiency, solar energy and biofuels. The role of legal and regulatory systems in facilitating enabling environments was also raised. Delegations were invited to submit concrete proposals for cooperation to facilitate discussions at the next preparatory meeting.” The next meeting is expected to convene in Paris, France, in May 2009, during which the Leaders' representatives will focus on the Copenhagen process, including mitigation, adaptation and finance, as well as on issues regarding development of transformational technologies, and the deployment and transfer of technology. [US State Department briefing] [Chair's summary]