Ahead of a key international summit on climate change, Google hosted a panel discussion at its offices here Monday on the need for the U.S. to play a key role in the development of the next generation of energy, CNET News reports. Energy experts from Stanford University, the University of California at Berkeley, and MIT joined Google’s Dan Reicher, director of climate and energy initiatives and energy venture capitalist Tim Woodward of Nth Power in a wide-ranging discussion on a very timely topic: how to transition the world toward a more sustainable form of energy consumption and production. They were later joined via video conference by Kristina Johnson, undersecretary of energy at the U.S. Department of Energy. The panelists sought not only to emphasize that such a move is essential, but one that presents enormous economic opportunity for countries that get ahead of the technology and innovation curve. "If we really do pull off changing the world’s energy system, then a whole lot of money is going to be spent on putting the equipment in place to do that," said Lynn Orr, director of the Precourt Institute for Energy at Stanford University.