McDonough School of Business
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Secretary of Energy Calls For Clean Energy Innovation

U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz has called for innovation in multiple dimensions and across sectors, including in technology, policy, regulation, and finance.

“Innovation will be central for meeting not just our near-term goals, but for continuing the progress that we will need to make in the future,” said Moniz, speaking at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business on Oct. 21.

Moniz delivered keynote remarks as part of the two-day Secretary’s Climate and Clean Energy Investment Forum, focused on exploring climate and clean energy investments and their role in fighting global climate change. The first day of the forum, featuring a conversation with Secretary of State John Kerry and Georgetown University President John J. DeGioia, was held at the State Department. The forum was a key event leading up to the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 United Nations Framework on Convention on Climate Change in Paris, where Kerry plans to pursue a global climate change treaty.

“The optimism of our accomplishing something substantial in Paris is significantly greater than it was a year ago,” Moniz said. “The joint announcement by President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China was something of a game changer. Nobody is saying it is going to be easy getting from here to there, but we think that the road will be mapped out for what we need to do beyond Paris for the critical job of implementing our national commitment to clean energy.”

Georgetown University’s Global Social Enterprise Initiative (GSEI) and the Georgetown Environment Initiative co-hosted the event with the U.S. State Department and Google.

“The goal is low carbon,” Moniz said. “There is not one low-carbon solution. There will be multiple low-carbon solutions. We believe that our job is to enable any approach to low carbon to compete for a place in the marketplace.”

The second day of the forum also featured remarks from Catherine Novelli, Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment at the U.S. Department of State, as well as breakout discussions on topics such as mobilizing energy efficiency finance, understanding and managing financial risks from climate change, and engaging private capital in adaptation and resilience.

“We deeply believe that business can and should be a force for good,” said David A. Thomas, dean at Georgetown McDonough. “The collaborative partnerships forming here between industry, government, and the nonprofit sector can be a powerhouse for good.”

“This forum is an example of sectors coming together to drive solutions that will mitigate climate change, a defining challenge of this century,” added Ladan Manteghi, executive director of GSEI. “This is the second impact conference GSEI has convened with the State Department to demonstrate how investment can create social and environmental benefit and yield financial return.”

The Global Social Enterprise Initiative, housed at Georgetown McDonough, aims to prepare current and future leaders to make responsible management decisions that yield both economic and social value. Through practical training for global business leaders, the initiative promotes transformative solutions to and impactful investments in the world’s significant challenges in health and well-being, economic growth, the environment, and international development.