Expert Commentary

Who’s winning the clean energy race?

2010 paper on the increased investment of key developing nations in the global production of clean-energy technology.

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, renewable energy

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