With 20 million jobs at stake globally, China poured $440 billion into clean energy last year. Our only hope to match them is the bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill
It is shaping up to be the Great Game of the 21st century. To top officials and business executives here at the World Economic Forum, Topic A this year was the race to develop greener, cleaner technology…. it is a battle for potentially millions of jobs and trillions of dollars in export revenues.
“Six months ago my biggest worry was that an emissions deal would make American business less competitive compared to China,” said Senator Lindsay Graham, a Republican from South Carolina who has been deeply involved in climate change issues in Congress. “Now my concern is that every day that we delay trying to find a price for carbon is a day that China uses to dominate the green economy.”
He added: “China has made a long-term strategic decision and they are going gang-busters.”
Christine Lagarde, the French finance minister, agreed. “It’s a race and whoever wins that race will dominate economic development,” she said….
In the energy sector alone, the deployment of new technologies, like wind and solar power, has the potential to support 20 million jobs by 2030 and trillions of dollars in revenue, analysts estimate.
That’s the NY Times reporting Saturday from Davos, “Race Is on to Develop Green, Clean Technology.” And they have another terrific piece today on the front page from Tianjin, “China Leading Global Race to Make Clean Energy.”
Politics aside, what is most amazing about the emergence of the conservative senator from South Carolina as a leader on climate and clean energy is that he is clearly better at messaging on this than most progressives, possibly even including the president. Why?
Graham understands the core issues and is not afraid to be blunt about them — see Lindsey Graham: “The idea of not pricing carbon, in my view, means you’re not serious about energy independence. The odd thing is you’ll never have energy independence until you clean up the air, and you’ll never clean up the air until you price carbon.”
Some 20 million jobs — and trillions in wealth — by 2030 are at stake, and America may give up without much of a fight. We only have one hope of matching China, as I (and others) have said again and again (see “The only way to win the clean energy race is to pass the clean energy bill“).