At Yale-sponsored summit, leaders discuss energy policy

Officials from around the world gathered Thursday to share perspectives from the developing and developed world on climate change.

Leaders from U.S. and Indian government agencies, research institutions, corporations and nonprofits met in Washington at the U.S.-India Energy Partnership Summit to discuss energy issues at an event co-sponsored by Yale. The summit was led by University President Richard Levin and Rajendra Pachauri, who directs both the Yale Climate and Energy Institute and the New Delhi-based Energy and Resources Institute.

The Energy and Resources Institute and Yale convened the summit to promote collaboration between the United States and India on energy policy and the development of green technologies.

The event’s organizer, Annapurna Vancheswaran, said the event was designed to lay the groundwork for future energy talks between the United States and India.

“The right actors will be present to determine how the U.S. and India can partner to ensure green growth,” Vancheswaran, who also is the director of Sustainable Development Outreach for the Energy and Resources Institute, said. “If India goes the route of the U.S., it will be a doomsday for all.”

Among the stakeholders participating in the summit were Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Indian Ambassador to the United States Meera Shankar and New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman. Yale law professor Daniel Esty, engineering professor Alessandro Gomez and chemistry professor Scott Strobel also spoke.

The summit concluded with a fundraising dinner for the Energy and Resources Institute’s Lighting a Billion Lives campaign, which aims to meet the basic energy needs of rural communities. Sen. John Kerry ’66 and former Vice President Al Gore, who shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which Pachauri heads, were among those honored at the dinner.

Three Yale students traveled to Washington to volunteer at the event. Deepak Jeevan Kumar SOM ’10, a co-chairman of the Yale SOM Energy Club, assisted conference organizers in recruiting U.S. and Indian business leaders to participate in the summit.

Kumar called the summit “an opportunity for the U.S. and India to find common ground” before December’s United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen. He also praised Yale’s leadership in fostering dialogue between the two nations on climate change and energy issues.

“Yale can find its niche in promoting collaboration with the developing world,” Kumar said.

Rajan Chandra SOM ’10, who also volunteered at the conference and has worked in the United States and India on energy issues, said both countries face similar challenges.

“India is one of the fastest-growing economies in the world,” he said. “Its energy needs are rising very fast. And the U.S. is one of the largest energy consumers in the world.”

Over 220 participants registered for the event, Vancheswaran said.

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