Unless we act now, we might lose the race to the clean energy economy of the future.
A new report from the Center for American Progress points out that the United States is slipping behind other nations in the development and deployment of clean energy and efficient infrastructure even as China spends $12.6 million every hour greening their economy.
Read the full study here.
China, as part of their two-year stimulus plan, is poised to spend 3% of their GDP a year on public investments in renewable energy, low-carbon vehicles, high-speed rail, an advanced electric grid, efficiency improvements, and other water-treatment and pollution controls. This is about $12.6 million every hour. In the United States, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act invests about half as much as China on comparable priorities. This represents less than half of one percent of our 2008 gross domestic product.
The paper also shows that, when it comes to preparing our country to compete in the new energy economy of the future and create millions of new jobs, the United States lags behind most of our competitors in the rest of the world in a four key ways.
–We have no national energy portfolio standard that encourages clean, renewable power and shifts away from dirty and dangerous energy.
–We have an outdated electrical grid unsuited for the task of carrying energy from regions rich in wind, solar, and geothermal potential to the people who need the energy.
–We don’t make dirty energy companies pay for the pollution they pump into the air; in fact, we give them billions every year in tax breaks.
–And we don’t invest enough in research, development, and deployment to inspire our entrepreneurs and leverage their discoveries by helping bring their bold new technologies to market.
As venture capitalist John Doerr recently pointed out in his testimony before the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works, “What is at stake is whether America will be the worldwide winner in the next great global industry, green technologies.”
The Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee is now conducting a hearing on “Empowering Workers to Rebuild America’s Economy and Longer-Term Competitiveness: Green Skills Training for Workers,” with testimony from Labor Secretary Hilda Solis: