One of the big issues being hashed out in this week's UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen is how to pay for climate change-mitigating technologies in countries that don't have enough cash. U.S. Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced today that the U.S. will lead the charge with the Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI), a $350 million program that will quickly bring renewable energy technologies to developing nations.
Climate REDI, which is being funded by the U.S., Britain, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland, will consist of three separate pieces: a solar and LED access program, an appliance efficiency program, and an online technical and policy support program for renewable energy strategies. All of these initiatives will work in conjunction with already-existing program. The solar and LED initiative, for example, will work with the International Finance Corporation's Lighting Africa program, and the appliance initiative will work with the EPA's Energy Star program.
$350 million is a decent start, but it's hardly enough to get developing countries up to speed with green technology. And the countries that stand to get cash from Climate REDI know it. It's not a big surprise, then, that negotiations in Copenhagen were suspended earlier today because of protests from the the G77-China bloc, which represents developing countries. It's hard to scold the Climate REDI sponsor countries for trying, but we hope to see more cash infusions to the G77-China bloc before the Copenhagen conference is done.