State Dept Creates Energy Bureau, Steers World Toward Clean Energy Future

The State Department has established a division focused exclusively on "vigorous diplomacy" on energy issues, to steer the world toward a global clean energy future. 

In announcing the the Bureau of Energy Resources, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said, "You can’t talk about our economy or foreign policy without talking about energy. With a growing global population and a finite supply of fossil fuels, the need to diversify our supply is urgent."

The move shows how important energy has become for U.S. foreign policy and national security. Its main goal is manage the "geopolitics of the energy world" by working with producers and consumers, says Carlos Pascual, who is heading the Bureau.

In addition to working towards stable supply and demand in conventional energy markets and avoiding unaffordable supply and price shocks, the Bureau is charged with promoting clean energy, stimulating transformational policies that create demand for green technologies, and increasing US exports. It will also promote renewable energy in developing countries to increase access to energy for the world’s poor and help them find pathways out of poverty using environmentally sustainable means. 

It will also closely engage with China to develop new energy technologies while pushing for increased U.S. access to the world’s biggest market for renewable energy, says Pascual.

"We will unabashedly support the export of U.S. technology, working with countries to put in a level playing field," he says, so that U.S. goods can compete, noting that Chinese markets have been difficult to enter because of restrictions on foreign-made goods, such as wind turbines.

Natural gas markets will also be a key focus. The advent of  shale gas in the U.S. and overseas is boosting production and having a substantial impact on global energy markets and thus geopolitics, says Pascual. Shale gas is fueling rapid growth in seaborne transport of liquefied gas, which helps reduce the leverage of continental natural-gas producers who ship the fuel via pipelines.

It is working closely with other government agencies, notably the Department of Energy, USAID, the Ex-Im Bank, and others. The State Department’s role will be diplomacy and market-related issues that  complement their technical capabilities.

"Energy powers the U.S. and global economies. The national security and economic prosperity of the United States and of our international allies and partners depend on global markets for oil, gas, and coal. Yet, these fossil fuels also account for most global production of greenhouse gas emissions," officials say. "Reducing our reliance on them is central to our efforts to combat global climate change. While we must protect our energy security and that of our allies and partners today, we must also foster international cooperation toward a global clean energy future."

Bureau Leadership

The Bureau of Energy Resources is expanding on the existing office of the envoy for international energy, bringing in energy specialists that are currently scattered across the State Dept. It will have about 50 employees, led by Carlos Pascual, who is a a former U.S. ambassador to Ukraine and Mexico.

Carlos Pascual currently serves as the Secretary’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs. Secretary Clinton points to his efforts in Mexico to "lay the foundation for a cross-border renewable energy market" and open negotiations for managing oil and gas reserves that cross national borders.

He is the co-author of "Power and Responsibility: Building International Order in an Era of Transnational Threats," which examines the US role in global security threats, including energy.

"The twenty-first century will be defined by security threats unconstrained by borders — threats from climate change, nuclear proliferation, and terrorism to conflict, poverty, disease, and economic instability," the book says. "The greatest test of global leadership will be building partnerships and institutions for cooperation that can meet the challenge."

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Comments on “State Dept Creates Energy Bureau, Steers World Toward Clean Energy Future”

  1. Gary Noland

    Congratulations. I see the newly created Bureau of Energy Resources as filling an extremely important and missing element of our Government. Your new Bureau may actually be the focus of activity within the US for AVOIDING the next war over petroleum. This can be accomplished if we as a nation dedicate ourselves to developing a suitable replacement fuel that does not pollute, has zero net CO2 exhaust, is made from sustainable energy sources, is domestically controlled, and is safe to dispense and consume. Please see a Partnership for a Sustainable Fuel at

    Congratulations to Secretary Clinton for establishing this much-needed organization within the Department of State and good luck to Mr. Carlos Pascual in his important position as the leader of the new Bureau of Energy Resources. Thank you.


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