The Cleantech arms race continues


Rising tigers, sleeping giant : download the reportEarlier this year I was wondering if cleantech is the new arms race. I noted at the time that America, Europe and China are beginning to compete in such an important economic sector.

A US study released last month shows that not only there is an arms race between the United States and Asian nations, but that America ‘s government invests much less than China, Japan and South Korea.

If nothing was done this could become an important problem for America as it would have to import its cleantech equipments. As a matter of fact, it already has been the case.

Indeed, a wind farm in Texas is being built with Chinese wind turbines and partially financed by Chinese banks. I would haven’t thought such a thing would be possible. If you are interested for more on this, please check out the articles from TreeHugger and Green Inc.

But let’s get back to the study per se. Here is an extract of the overview :

Asia’s rising “clean technology tigers” – China, Japan, and South Korea – have already passed the United States in the production of virtually all clean energy technologies, and over the next !ve years, the governments of these nations will out-invest the United States three-to-one in these sectors.

This public investment gap will allow these Asian nations to attract a signicant share of private sector investments in clean energy technology, estimated to total in the trillions of dollars over the next decade. While some U.S. frms will bene”t from the establishment of joint ventures overseas, the jobs, tax revenues, and other bene”ts of clean tech growth will overwhelmingly accrue to Asia’s clean tech tigers.

Large, direct and sustained public investments will solidify the competitive advantage of China, Japan, and South Korea. Government investments in research and development, clean energy manufacturing capacity, the deployment of clean energy technologies, and the establishment of enabling infrastructure, will allow these Asian nations to capture economies of scale, learning-by-doing, and innovation advantages before the United States, where public investments are smaller, less direct, and less targeted.

Should the investment gap persist, the United States will import the overwhelming majority of clean energy technologies it deploys. Current U.S. energy and climate policies focus on stimulating domestic demand primarily through indirect demand-side incentives and regulations.

Should these policies succeed in creating demand without providing robust support for U.S. clean energy technology manufacturing and innovation, the United States will rely on foreign-manufactured clean technology products. This could jeopardize America’s economic recovery and its long-term competitiveness while making it even more diffcult to reduce the U.S. trade deficit.

For more, please check out the full report.

Even if China keeps on burning huge amounts of coal each day and is now the world’s first greenhouse gases emitting nation, it is investing no less than 9 billion US Dollars per month on renewable energies.

These investments are done to solve what some refer to as $9 trillion global warming problem.

This study focuses on only four countries, I would like one with a more global approach. How is Europe doing on cleantech ? I believe Germany and Spain are doing fine, but what about the EU-27 ? We know we are on our way to overshoot our Kyoto’s targets, but how about green jobs ?

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