Out of the Running?
|March 21 2010|
Out of the Running? How Germany, Spain, and China Are Seizing the Energy Opportunity and Why the United States Risks Getting Left Behind
A clean-energy call to arms!
As the United States debates comprehensive clean-energy legislation, it is confronted with a simple choice: come to the table and feast on the enormous economic opportunity that comes with reducing global warming pollution or be an item on the menu as our economic competitors forge ahead to build prosperity.
By 2020, clean energy will be one of the world’s biggest industries, totaling as much as $2.3 trillion.1 Over the past year, other countries made huge investments to seize the economic opportunity provided by the historic shift from fossil-based energy to renewable, low-waste electricity and fuel. These investments weren’t made out of thin air, but were a result of intentional public policies, which in turn provided a strong stimulus for new public and private investment in new clean-energy markets, infrastructure, and human resources.
China, a country that in some ways is only now experiencing an industrial revolution, has made a serious commitment to building that revolution with low-carbon, low-waste technologies and infrastructure. Several European Union countries—notably Germany and Spain—have also turned from old energy policies to embrace the new. These three countries understand that the transformation to a low-carbon economy brings a range of strategic benefits, from climate stability to energy security to economic prosperity.
With that understanding, these countries are moving forward decisively. The United States came in second just behind Germany in absolute sales in a recent global country ranking of 2008 clean-energy technology product sales.2 But when product sales were expressed as a proportion of respective gross domestic product, the United States was far down the list at 19th, compared to Germany at third, Spain at fourth, and China at sixth.3 The United States also lags on installed renewable energy per capita as well as per unit of gross domestic product ....
PDF format, 590KB, 47Pages.
Kate Gordon, Julian L. Wong, and JT McLain
ABOUT THE AUTHORS
Julian L. Wong is a Senior Policy Analyst with the Energy Opportunity team at American Progress. Prior to joining American Progress, Julian was a Fulbright scholar in Beijing researching China’s renewable energy policies, and a corporate lawyer at the international law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison LLP in New York and Hong Kong. Julian is the founder and author of The Green Leap Forward, a leading blog on China’s energy and environmental issues.
JT McLain is a contributing author for the Energy Opportunity team at American Progress. He recently graduated as a public policy and law major from Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut with both academic and faculty honors. He also received honors for his senior thesis, “Generating a Climate for the Adoption of Solar Electricity.”
|Last Updated ( March 21 2010 )|
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