Good Question!

I just received an e-mail which asked the question:

Over the past year, China has invested nearly twice as much into creating clean energy technologies as the United States. And, at the same time, they have installed nearly as much renewable energy capacity as the U.S. Considering their less than satisfactory environmental record, why is China leading the clean energy race, while the U.S. lags behind?

As anyone who has spent time in that part of the world will tell you, the Chinese are abysmal when it comes to the environment. For example, I may have moaned about Kai Tak Airport being built for Kamikaze pilots, but the PRC decided to destroy Lantau Island to build a replacement for it. The PRC has also built the Three Gorges Dam on the Yangtze River which flooded archaeological and cultural sites and displaced some 1.3 million people, while causing significant ecological changes, including an increased risk of landslides.

The problem is that the PRC is leaving the US in its dust when it comes to new technology. Accodring to the NY Times: China has vaulted past competitors in Denmark, Germany, Spain and the United States last year to become the world’s largest maker of wind turbines, and is poised to expand even further this year. It has also leapfrogged the West in the last two years to emerge as the world’s largest manufacturer of solar panels. And the country is pushing equally hard to build nuclear reactors and the most efficient types of coal power plants. These efforts to dominate renewable energy technologies raise the prospect that the West may someday trade its dependence on oil from the Mideast for a reliance on solar panels, wind turbines and other gear manufactured in China.

Oh well, too bad the US is in love with its fast fading image of itself as a world power.

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Posted 09/12/2010 by lacithedog in Energy policy, Environment

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