US reveals fund for green tech in poor nations

The White House on Monday announced a new program drawing funds from international partners to spend $350 million over five years to supply developing nations with clean energy technology to curb greenhouse gas emissions and reduce global warming.

The program will contribute to distribution of solar power alternatives for homes, including sun-powered lanterns, supply of cleaner equipment and appliances and a push to fund and put in place renewable energy systems in the world’s poorer nations.

The funding plan grew out of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) established among the world’s top economies earlier this year, with a decision to produce detail plans and spending at the July summit meeting in L’Aquila, Italy.

The U.S. share of the program will amount to $85 million with the remainder coming from Australia, Britain, Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland, the White House said in a statement by spokesman Robert Gibbs.

He said President Barack Obama had assigned Energy Secretary Steven Chu to coordinate with partners in the MEF to insure immediate action on the program.

The White House said the U.S. and it’s partners in the effort “have been working to develop a suite of technology action plans, which lay out options for ambitious government action on 10 key clean energy technologies: advanced vehicles; bio-energy; building energy efficiency; carbon capture, use and storage; high-efficiency, low-emissions coal; industrial energy efficiency; marine energy; smart grid; solar energy; and wind energy.”

The plan was announced in conjunction with the ongoing U.N.-sponsored climate change summit in Copenhagen, Denmark. Obama will attend the gathering later this week.

Chu and four other members of Obama’s Cabinet already are at the summit, where delegates have focused so far on the question of how much developed nations will contribute to poor countries to help them develop clean energy technology to mitigate emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that are blamed for rising global temperatures.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.