As political agreements on clean energy remain elusive, the countries that use most of the world's energy launched steps Tuesday to get more clean energy into the global market, including moves toward TVs that waste less electricity, more cars that don't need gasoline, and buildings and factories that use power more efficiently.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced the agreements at the first gathering of energy officials from countries that use 80 percent of global energy: the U.S., Russia, China, Canada, Australia, Brazil, India, European countries, South Korea, Japan, South Africa, Mexico and the United Arab Emirates.
Chu said the plans would eliminate the need to build more than 500 midsized power plants worldwide over the next 20 years. They also could smooth the way for international agreements on how to reduce the risk of climate change, he said.
Negotiations failed in Copenhagen in December, largely because the United States had no national policy to reduce its share of carbon pollution. The plan is still stalled in the Senate. The global talks will resume in Cancun, Mexico, in November.
"What happens is in any long journey there's always the fear of the unknown," Chu said. "And as we all know, once you start down this path and make progress in very concrete ways, that always alleviates a lot of the unknown."