Who’s committed to pushing 10 billion affordable, energy-efficient lights into places they’re needed?

Answer: governments in Africa, Asia and North America, plus members of the European Commission.

With the Global Lighting Challenge, they pledged to speed production and distribution of efficient lights for homes, businesses, streets and beyond.

They accepted the challenge at the sixth Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM6) held in Mérida, Mexico, at the end of May.

Lighting consumes 15 percent of global electricity production. Replacing existing lighting with greener, cleaner products could save an estimated $120 billion in electricity and fuel costs.  It would also reduce global CO2 emissions by 530 million metric tons.

No-emission lighting would help 1 billion people avoid the unhealthful smoke of the kerosene lamps and candles they currently use.

More reliable, affordable and sustainable power and light is being installed in Tanzania, brightening the night for these children. (USAID/Matthieu Young)

Global markets have been opening gradually to more efficient lighting products. The Global Lighting Challenge aims to speed that transition to gain energy, economic and climate benefits.

Mexican Secretary of Energy Pedro Joaquín Coldwell, host of the meeting, said, “It is up to us that renewable energies become a synonym of equality, and a powerful force to build a cleaner, fairer and sustainable world.”

CEM6 goals don’t stop with lighting. Most of the participating governments also signed on to a second challenge: developing electric power systems that are cleaner, more reliable, resilient and affordable than those now used.

Reducing power generation emissions, combating climate change and improving health are among the top goals of the Power System Challenge, according to CEM documents. Modernizing power-grid systems to increase efficiency in energy distribution and include clean sources is another key goal.

The United States also announced efforts to dramatically scale-up the Clean Energy Solutions Center, a CEM initiative that has already provided real-time, no-cost clean energy expert policy assistance to more than 80 countries around the world.

U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz noted Obama administration goals for the United States to adopt a clean energy economy. The United States has been promoting adoption of alternate fuels like wind and water and increased conservation in multiple sectors.