Energy Secretary Rick Perry will head to Asia to meet with partners of an international agreement created by the Obama administration and other countries to help meet the goals laid out in the Paris climate agreement.
Perry will travel to Japan to visit the site of the Fukushima nuclear power plant that was hit by an earthquake and tsunami in 2011. Perry will head to China on Tuesday to attend, ironically enough, the second Mission Innovation Ministerial summit, Axios reported Tuesday.
Mission Innovation (MI) was created by nearly two dozen countries, including the U.S., during the 2015 United Nations climate summit in Paris, France to help meet the goal of the Paris climate agreement to keep future global warming below 2 degrees Celsius.
The U.S.’s MI narrative page reads: “if the longer-term goal of the recent and historic Paris Agreement (2015) is to be realized, that is, to stay ‘well below 2 degrees C’, it will require a sustained strategy of ‘deep decarbonization’ across all aspects of energy production, transformation and use.”
The Obama administration played a role in creating MI at the Paris summit, and joined the Paris agreement in 2016. Former President Barack Obama pledged to cut U.S. greenhouse gas emissions 26 to 28 percent below 2005 levels by 2025.
Obama’s pledge, in part, relied on energy efficiency regulations and subsidies for green energy technology, especially solar panels and wind turbines.
Perry supports remaining in the Paris agreement, but with a weakened pledge to cut emissions. He’s joined by White House advisers Ivanka Trump, Jared Jushner, and Gary Cohn. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also supported staying in the Paris agreement.
Perry’s trip to China will likely happen after Trump makes his decision on whether or not to stay party to the Paris agreement. Trump promised to “cancel” the agreement on the campaign trail.
Trump has reportedly told close confidantes he plans on withdrawing from the Paris agreement. Axios reported the news after Trump met with European leaders at the G7 summit in Italy.
The White House said Trump was there to “learn” from Europeans about how important the Paris agreement is to them, but German Chancellor Angela Merkel said the “entire discussion about climate was very difficult, if not to say very dissatisfying.”
After the summit, Merkel said “we in Europe have to take our fate into our own hands” and needed to play a bigger role in world affairs. Merkel’s comments were construed as a rejection of Trump’s demands of U.S. allies.
The MI summit will “provide an opportunity to leverage high-level political will and private-sector leadership to drive ambitious, real-world clean energy policies and actions,” according to the website.
The countries attending the summit make up “well over 80 percent of global public investment in clean energy research and development, currently totaling approximately $15 billion per year” and have a goal of doubling their yearly green energy spending over the next five years to $30 billion.
MI was set up in conjunction with the Breakthrough Energy Coalition (BEC) — a group of wealthy philanthropists and businessmen who want to work with governments to boost green energy funding.
Microsoft founder Bill Gates spearheaded BEC in 2015, and launched a $1 billion investment fund in late 2016 to support its mission.
BEC also includes billionaire Democratic donors George Soros and Tom Steyer, along with Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Virgin Group founder Richard Branson.
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