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Joint Seminar
Investing in Innovation to Implement the Paris Climate Agreement: Enabling Public-Private Partnerships in Clean Energy Technology

Dr. Varun Sivaram

Douglas Dillon fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations

22 Apr 2016
10:30 – 12:30
Rm 1501-02, 15/F, Hong Kong Club Building, 3A Chater Road, Central
Co-organizer :
Civic Exchange, Institute for Public Policy and Institute for Emerging Market Studies.
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Addressing climate change requires advanced low-carbon energy technologies. At the Paris Climate Change Conference, twenty countries including China and the United States, agreed to double funding for research and development of clean energy technologies by 2020. Dubbed “Mission Innovation”, their pledge was supported by the “The Breakthrough Energy Coalition” of 27 billionaires committing to invest patient, flexible risk capital for projects which will provide the economic proof points necessary for the mainstream market-driven clean energy economy required for our planetary future.

A crucial aspect of Mission Innovation will be international coordination, as countries navigate incentives to cooperate and fight climate change as well as those to compete for national returns on public investments.

In this seminar, Dr. Varun Sivaram will articulate the major objectives of international partnerships to invest in clean energy technology, review recent progress—especially between the United States and China—and make recommendations for how the world can best leverage the political will displayed in Paris.

About the speaker 

Varun Sivaram is the Douglas Dillon fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations. He is also a strategic advisor to the office of New York Governor Andrew Cuomo on Reforming the Energy Vision (REV). He is a member of the advisory boards for both the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment and the Stanford Precourt Institute for Energy. Before joining the Council, he was a consultant at McKinsey & Company, where he counseled Fortune 500 companies on adapting to the modern competitive landscape in energy. Prior to this role, he served as senior advisor for energy and water policy to the mayor of Los Angeles, Antonio Villaraigosa, and oversaw the city’s Department of Water and Power.
His work has appeared in the Journal of Applied Physics, the Journal of Physical Chemistry, Nature, Nature Climate Change, Scientific American, and the World Economic Forum. A Truman and a Rhodes scholar, Dr. Sivaram holds degrees from Stanford University in engineering physics and international relations, with honors in international security. He holds a Ph.D. in condensed matter physics from St. John’s College, Oxford University, where he developed third-generation solar photovoltaic coatings for building-integrated applications. He lives in Washington, DC.


HKUST Institute for Public Policy