In a groundbreaking gathering on August 15, 2023, U.S. Secretary of Energy Jennifer M. Granholm brought together world leaders and prominent figures in the field of clean energy to participate in the first-ever Net Zero World Ministerial. The event marked a significant milestone in the global effort to combat climate change and achieve net-zero emissions. The initiative was initially launched at COP26, and since then, participants have been diligently working towards their climate and clean energy goals.
Secretary Granholm’s message at the ministerial was clear, at the first-ever Net Zero World Ministerial, “No one can whistle a symphony. It takes a whole orchestra to play it. That symphony, if you will, is our fight against the climate crisis—our shared fight. And we are the orchestra. We all show up with different strengths and priorities—and instruments—that can help us achieve clean, sustainable economies, and create millions of good-paying jobs. Luckily, we all have access to world-class instructors, who can help us refine our techniques, boost our proficiency, and become masters of the art of decarbonization. That is what Net Zero World is all about.”
The event commenced with a closed-door plenary session, attended by delegations from Net Zero World countries Argentina, Chile, Egypt, Indonesia, Nigeria, Singapore, Thailand, and Ukraine. Notably, key figures from U.S. government agencies, along with directors from renowned institutions such as Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Argonne National Laboratory, and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, were also present.
The second part of the ministerial saw the inclusion of Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Founder of Breakthrough Energy. Together with other attendees, Gates engaged in discussions centered around advanced energy storage, grid-enhancing technologies, and the broader role of clean energy innovation in advancing the global goal of achieving net-zero emissions.
Net Zero World, introduced at COP26 in Glasgow, is the Department of Energy’s flagship international initiative. This ambitious program encompasses ten National Laboratories and nine U.S. government agencies. Its primary objective is to provide comprehensive technical, financial, and policy support to countries worldwide, enabling them to transition to cleaner energy systems across various sectors, including buildings, industry, electric power, and transportation, thus achieving transformative reductions in greenhouse gas emissions. As part of this initiative, partnering nations gain access to:
- Immediate and ongoing support for expert technical analysis, deployment, and investment facilitation from the U.S. government, including the esteemed U.S. DOE’s national laboratories.
- Tailored assistance for local technical institutions, fostering long-term, self-sustaining technical capabilities.
- Robust collaboration to formulate technical and investment plans and to support the implementation of projects related to technology project design and testing, infrastructure modernization, policy enactment, investment analysis, capacity building, workforce development, and other critical actions essential for both near-term and long-term energy system decarbonization.