6.4.09   •   Focus: International Competition

The nation that leads the race for clean energy technology will have a global economic advantage for the next century. With millions of manufacturing and high-tech jobs on the line, the United States cannot afford to fall behind.

The Waxman-Markey legislation will launch a renewable revolution, one that draws on our manufacturing might and technological advantage and positions us to lead the world in wind, solar, efficiency, and carbon capture and sequestration technology.

It's time to put America back in the driver's seat in the global race for clean energy jobs and technology.

News Stories & Opinion

New York Times/Green Inc: Assessing China's low carbon dragon

...China is already a leading manufacturer of solar photovoltaic technology, according to the report, with 820 megawatts of production in place by the end of 2007, second only to Japan. Output of solar panels has doubled for each of the last four years, and by the end of 2009, China is expected to become the world's leading exporter of wind turbines.

Irish Examiner: Green sector creates 50% of jobs

NEW figures show that more than 50% of new Irish jobs created this year come under the green category which has the capacity to create at least 55,000 jobs by 2020.

Research shows more than 10,000 of the jobs created over the past three months were generated by the green economy with substantial potential down the line provided the Government gives greater backing to green issues.

Report: Climate Progress in China (Center for American Progress)

By 2020, China plans to tap wind power for 100 gigawatts of electricity, which is triple the original target; solar power for 10 gigawatts— a fivefold increase; and hydroelectric power by 300 gigawatts, twice its current capacity. In addition, China moved 40 million solar-water heaters into Chinese homes in 2007, accounting for two-thirds of the global market demand, with a target of 30 percent of households by 2020.

Report: We Must Seize the Energy Opportunity or Slip Further Behind (Center for American Progress)

China's leaders are investing $12.6 million every hour to green their economy. Other countries are equally energetic in their embrace of alternative energy technologies; they are setting targets and investing billions of dollars to spur the development of entirely new markets in wind, solar, geothermal, biofuels, energy efficiency, high-speed rail, and other clean and innovative solutions to global warming.

Speech Yesterday by Todd Stern, U.S. Special Envoy for Climate Change:

And this energy-intensive, coal-driven growth has had toxic consequences for China''s environment and public health. Sixteen of the world's 20 most polluted cities are in China, particulate pollution in Beijing is six times higher than in New York, and premature deaths from respiratory disease are estimated in a joint World Bank/China research project at 750,000 per year. Water pollution is just as bad – 90 percent of the aquifers in China's cities are polluted, and more than 75 percent of river water in urban areas is unsuitable for drinking or fishing. Moreover, on any given day, 25 percent of the particulate pollution in Los Angeles is made in China, as is the acid rain problem in Japan and Korea. Pan Yue, a former Vice Minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, famously said a few years ago – "The economic miracle will end soon because the environment can no longer keep pace."

Chinese leadership has increasingly come to recognize the importance of changing course, for many reasons - climate change, energy security and the pressing need to clean up its environment, but also because of the country's daunting employment needs. With U.S. consumers tightening their belts and Chinese exports declining, Beijing needs a new engine of job creation. And the industries responsible for most of China's emissions growth don't create many jobs. The five most energy-intensive industries in the country account for nearly half of China's CO2 emissions, but employ only 14 million people combined. That's less than they did a decade ago and a drop in the bucket in a labor pool of 770 million.

And so China has taken significant steps to rebalance its economy towards labor-intensive services and manufacturing, improve its energy efficiency and reduce its emissions. For example, China's current five-year plan includes the goal of reducing the energy intensity of the economy 20% by 2010, and the aim of increasing the share of renewable energy in the primary energy supply to 15% by 2020. China has implemented increasingly stringent auto emissions standards, stronger than our own, and its domestic stimulus package contained substantial clean energy investments. And there are many other initiatives underway, including an intensive focus on producing electric vehicles, and a new commitment to develop solar power. Already, China is one of the world's leading producers of both wind and solar technology.

Select Committee Hearing (testimony and video) on efforts by other nations to create clean energy jobs

This is the web version of the Select Committee's Clean Energy Update email.
Click here to return to the index of the Committee's Updates