U.S.-EU Energy Council Reinvigorates Work Toward Common Goals

Preparing for the 5th U.S.-EU Energy Council is a lot of work—with perhaps the hardest part being finding a time when our Secretaries of State and Energy and the EU High Representative and Energy Commissioner are all available at the same time!

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The U.S.-EU Energy Council (the banners say EU-U.S. Energy Council when the Council is held in Europe!) was attended by foreign affairs and energy policymakers from both sides of the Atlantic. Photo: U.S. Mission to the EU

The time spent in preparation is worthwhile, because the Council brings together all of the work being done throughout the year on our shared priorities like clean energy research, transparent energy markets, and sustainable energy use. The fact that our leaders come together for the Energy Council highlights the importance placed on working together to tackle global energy and climate challenges.

As USEU’s Climate Officer, I focused on the Council’s discussion of our shared objectives for transitioning to a low-carbon economy, and the Council’s reaffirmation to work towards an agreement in Paris in 2015 under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). In this context, the Council recognized the importance of transitioning to competitive, safe and sustainable low carbon energy systems, notably through further development and deployment of renewable energies, energy efficiency, and deployment of carbon capture storage and utilization.

At USEU I have had the opportunity to see and participate in a lot of our ongoing cooperation in these areas. For example, under the Transatlantic Economic Council, the U.S. and EU cooperate and collaborate on electric vehicles, and energy efficiency. We also cooperate within the Carbon Sequestration Leadership Forum (CSLF)—a voluntary climate initiative of industrially developed and developing nations that account for about 77 percent of all CO2 emissions. The CSLF gathers intellectual, technical, and financial resources from all parts of the world to support the long-term goal of the UNFCCC.

The challenges of climate change and a transition to low carbon energy technology are huge, and we have a better chance of achieving results faster when we work together. As Secretary Kerry said at the Council, “whether it’s confronting the immediate energy challenges in Ukraine…or the absolute imperative of all of us meeting the challenge of climate change, which in the latest IPCC report we see underscored for its importance, we’re going to have a partnership–with a partnership between the United States and Europe absolutely vital in this effort.”

By Susan Vesel, Climate Officer

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