Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?
A sustained period of fast economic growth nations such as China, Japan and South Korea has corresponded with an ever-increasing demand for energy. To meet this demand, these countries have invested significantly in green technology. The significant progress made is underscored in 2009 as China is reported to have passed the U.S. in clean energy investment and finance.
A 2010 paper by the Pew Charitable Trusts, “Who’s Winning the Clean Energy Race?” describes how developing nations have become leaders in the global production of clean energy technology.
The paper’s key conclusions include:
- Clean energy investments increased by nearly three-fold globally in the five-year period between 2005 and 2009
- Despite the global economic downturn, investment only fell by 6.6% in 2009 compared with 2008. In the various government stimulus plans, an estimated $184 billion was spent on clean-energy projects.
- In 2009 China surpassed the United States in the production of clean energy, with private investment amounting to $34.6 billion compared to $18.6 billion by the United States.
- More than 90% of global clean-energy finance and investment is made by G20 countries. Of these, countries with strong policy frameworks (China, Germany, Spain and Brazil, for example) have the strongest clean-energy sectors relative to the size of their economies.
The report concludes that, for the United States, current climate and energy legislation is insufficient to close the clean-technology investment gap. The authors suggest that a stronger national policy framework would spur greater clean-energy investment.
Tags: carbon, global warming, greenhouse gases, technology, Asia
Note to instructor: The suggested assignments are designed for flexibility. They can be used in whole or part and can be adapted to a particular task -- for example, the newswriting assignments could be applied to the writing of the headline, the lead, the nut graph or the full story. Material from the assignments could also be combined with other material, for example, in the writing of a background, feature or local-angle story.
Read the study titled "Who's Winning the Clean Energy Race?"
- Summarize the study in fewer than 40 words.
- Express the study's key term(s) in language a lay audience can understand.
- Evaluate the study's limitations. (For example: Do the results conflict with those of other reliable studies? Are there weaknesses in the study's data or research design?)
Read the issue-related New York Times article titled "China Leads Major Countries With $34.6 Billion Invested in Clean Technology."
- If you were to rewrite the article based on knowledge of the study, what key changes would you make?
- Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study.
- Spend 60 minutes exploring the issue by accessing sources of information other than the study. Write a lead (or headline or nut graph) based on the study but informed by the new information. Does the new information significantly change what one would write based on the study alone?
- Interview two sources with a stake in or knowledge of the issue. Be prepared to provide them with a short summary of the study in order to get their response to it. Write a 400-word article about the study incorporating material from the interviews.
- Spend additional time exploring the issue and then write a 1,200-word background article, focusing on major aspects of the issue.