China takes lead in clean-power investment  

Posted by Big Gav in , ,

The LA Times has a report on Chinese investment in clean energy is now double that of the United States - China takes lead in clean-power investment.

China overtook the United States for the first time last year in the race to invest in wind, solar and other sources of clean energy, according to a comprehensive new report that raises questions about American competitiveness in a booming global market.

U.S. clean energy investments hit $18.6 billion last year, a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts said, a little more than half the Chinese total of $34.6 billion. Five years ago, China's investments in clean energy totaled just $2.5 billion.

The United States also slipped behind 10 other countries, including Canada and Mexico, in clean energy investments as a share of the national economy.

Although part of the U.S. investment decline last year can be attributed to the deep recession, the Pew report pointed to another factor constraining U.S. competitiveness: a lack of national mandates for renewable energy production or a surcharge on greenhouse gas emissions that would make fossil fuels more expensive.

The report warned that the current U.S. approach, in which states make varied efforts and the federal government's efforts have been sporadic, has produced a "comparatively weak clean energy economy" -- and that the nation risks losing out on economic growth and job creation.

"It's certainly the case that the countries and areas with higher investment in clean energy will be able to produce more jobs," said Chris Lafakis, an economist at Moody's Economy.com, which is working with Pew in tracking the green economy and jobs. Lafakis said investment was the No. 1 factor in green job growth.

Worldwide, the report found clean energy investment more than doubling since 2005. Investment levels have already rebounded from the financial crisis and are projected to grow 25% this year, as nations increasingly seek energy sources that do not emit the heat-trapping gases produced by burning fossil fuels.

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