Study suggests U.S. is falling behind in the integration of innovative technologies to cut CO2

Issa: Advancing “so-called clean energy” is “not good” for America

Despite all the strong evidence proving the business case for implementing clean energy technologies, reducing energy use and building other solutions to climate change, some policy makers are still stuck in the past. Here’s an excerpt from a report released today by Darrell Issa, the Republican Chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, on the Obama Administration’s approach to energy:

It is pursuing a broad array of measures to block carbon-based energy extraction, to tax, and to otherwise increase the costs of its use, and to subsidize wherever possible the development and use of so-called “clean energy.” The economic and geopolitical implications of such a policy, if it is successful, are not good for the United States. It will make the United States poorer and more susceptible to the pressures of countries that now control a large share of the world’s oil””countries, which for the most part, do not share America’s goals or ideals.

This backward-thinking approach to energy issues has America, well, moving backward – allowing the U.S. to fall behind in creating a new, vibrant industry.

It’s a common quip: The U.S. is great at inventing things, but even better at sending those inventions oversees to get developed by other countries. That is particularly true in clean energy and climate solutions.

Back in the early days of wind, the U.S. was a technology pioneer; but with lapsing support in the 80’s, the Danish and Germans took over, creating massive export industries. The same happened in solar photovoltaics and solar thermal, with Germany, Austria and China taking the lead in the production and installation of the technologies. There’s still plenty of inventing going on in labs around the U.S., but the chances that another country will step in and develop an industry around a new technology are pretty good.

Now, it appears the U.S. is falling behind in another category: Implementation of information and communications technologies (known as ICT) for carbon reduction applications. A new report out from the Global e-Sustainability Initiative shows that, despite having a robust IT culture, the U.S. isn’t even in the top ten global integrators of ICT in this sector. Here are the top countries:


This follows a report in March from the Pew Charitable Trusts showing that the U.S. fell to third in the global clean energy investment rankings, getting beat out by China and Germany. The problem, according to the report, is a continued lack of consistency in policy. In talking to Pew about the report, Tom Konrad of put the problem succinctly:

Our dynamic Venture Capital helps incubate world-beating technology, which US companies would have the opportunity to commercialize, building new, world-beating industries if they had a reliable domestic market to sell into. As it is, the United States is simply the source of the great ideas behind the products that the rest of the world will be selling to us for decades to come.

As the presidential campaign begins, the Obama Administration is trying to counter arguments from Republicans who falsely blame renewables for rising energy prices.

Last week, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory touting American innovation in energy. He was there for two reasons: to award the solar thin-film company e-Chromic an award for winning “America’s Next Top Energy Innovator Challenge,” and for kicking up the message that the Obama Administration’s energy policy is pro-business and pro-jobs.

Here’s Biden’s statement as reported by the Colorado Independent:

“You hear people saying government is anti-business. They say that [government investment] is socialism,” Biden said, speaking softly, as though intimately, and with an air of incredulousness. “That’s bizarre. It’s the most pro-business thing we can do.”

“We have the best engineers, physicians, human capital,” Biden said. “This isn’t chauvinism. I want China to succeed, but our economy is three times the size of China’s economy. People say China has already eaten our lunch. I say to them, look at what we’ve accomplished”¦. The American spirit has risen to challenges time and time again. It’s not even close.”

Well, actually, study after study shows we’re getting beat now. And if the conversation around “so-called clean energy” – as  Darrell Issa so strangely put it – continues to stay the way it is, that gap will continue to widen.

— Stephen Lacey

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10 Responses to Study suggests U.S. is falling behind in the integration of innovative technologies to cut CO2

  1. Bill W says:

    Wow. Taking steps to get off oil will make us more susceptible to pressure from oil-producing countries? That’s quite a leap.

  2. Solar Jim says:

    The Twentieth Century is sometimes referred to as The American Century.

    The Twenty First Century is turning into the The Century of American Corporate Fascism (or Transfascism, as in transnational?).

    Our low ranking in ICT for carbon reduction speaks volumes about an industry in which we should naturally excel. Perhaps, due to unregulated money as governance, we excel in moving toward Third World America.

    Have a banana republic Mr. Issa.

  3. prokaryotes says:

    We are about to approach a world which can hardly feed 2 billion. And it will not end there, let alone the loses on diverse choices of food and end to all global trade as we knew it. Because of inaction, lack of accountability, total epic fail we will go down with a whimper instead of a fight. We talk about the collapse of civilization – anarchy and chaos.

  4. sydb says:

    Issa’s Orwellian doublethink only reenforces the lesson about the Republican Party. Whenever you think they couldn’t sink lower, you are proved wrong. There is no lower bound on the bottom-feeding of the party. Whilst one can excuse some who vote for them as totally ignorant, there are many who have to know that their ignorance of reality is wilful, spurred by their own callous greed and bigotry.

    As the other countries see the US receding further in their rearview mirrors, these morons cheer. No doubt, when the foriegn competion has disappeared from sight they will claim that the US is the world leader. “Look, you can’t see anyone ahead of us!”

  5. Bruce A. says:

    The above article says “…the Obama Administration is trying to counter arguments from Republicans who falsely blame the development of renewables on rising energy prices.” Am I confused, or does “the Obama Administration is trying to counter arguments from Republicans who falsely blame rising energy prices on the development of renewables” make more sense?

  6. Bruce A. says:

    Or maybe changing “falsely blame the development of renewables on rising energy prices” to “falsely blame the development of renewables for rising energy prices.”

  7. Jeffrey Davis says:

    The original Fascists were proud of their beliefs.
    Today’s corporate fascists aren’t.

    Where is Walter from The Big Lebowski when you need him?

  8. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The Republicans always surprise on the downside. This of course, is simply the slavish, but crudely unskilled propaganda services of a lackey of the fossil fuel industry on display. The narcissistic arrogance of the plutocrats who refuse to invest in new industries, where they could make a decent return and not destroy humanity in the process, tells us that this is not rationality at work. This is something deeper, more reptilian, about power and dominance for their own sake, about truly electrifying hatred for those who think in ways unlike yourself. You need only consult the lower depths of blogs comments, particularly in the Rightwing media, or be trapped in a pub or a taxi by a vocal Rightwing Dunning-Krugerite, to soon appreciate that, for the Right, environmentalists now perform the role that ‘Communists’ once did. They are, along with Moslems, the other great daemon figures of the moment (with China coming along fast)that hated ‘Other’ upon whom the Right is venting all its unbounded and fathomless hatred and angst. In our media, particularly, as ever, Murdoch’s ‘Evil Empire’, hatred, ridicule, contempt and derision are piled on environmentalists every day, and this has been the case for the thirty years or so that they have been prominent in public life. The main Opposition party, soon to return to Government thanks to the incredible incompetence of ‘Labor’, the Liberals, are clones of the Republicans and have very close links with them, and have studied their tactics and ideology for years, like Satan’s Apprentices.

  9. Flin says:

    “It will make the United States poorer”.

    Yeah, right… Like Germany, which just posted a record 5,2% GDP growth in the last 4 quarters. Which is the highest growth for 4 consecutive quarters since reunification.

    But then, since when do Republicans care about facts.