According to a report by the US Pew Environment Group global clean energy investments, which do not include nuclear power, jumped 630% since 2004. The report detailing 2010 clean energy investments found that China remains the global leader in clean energy, while the US fell from 2nd to 3rd. This is the second year in a row that the US fell: in 2009 it lost first place to China. In all $243 billion were invested in clean energy in 2010.
Germany, with an investment of $41.2 billion, rose above the US to take the number two spot in 2010. The US invested $34 billion. But China beats them all with an investment of $54.4 billion, making up nearly a quarter of the global investment.
“The United States’ position as a leading destination for clean energy investment is declining because its policy framework is weak and uncertain,” the director of Pew’s Clean Energy Program, Phyllis Cuttino, said on announcing the findings.
US President Barack Obama and congress failed to pass a comprehensive energy and climate bill last year. After a brutal election for Obama’s democrats last fall, the US House was taken by Republicans, who recently voted officially that climate change was not occurring. Republicans have also refused to cut $4 billion in subsidies to oil companies.
“There had been a theory out there that China was rising so fast in clean energy because of its low labor costs,” Jennifer Granholm, a former Michigan governor and adviser to Pew, told Reuters. “This is not about labor costs. This is about policy.”
The clean energy form of choice was solar last year, rising by 53% from 2009 levels. In all $79 billion was invested in solar energy in 2010. Investment in wind rose by 34% from 2009 levels. Meanwhile, biofuels, which have been under attack for environmental destruction and competing with food production, fell to its lowest point since 2005.
India also entered the Top 10 for the first time with an investment of $4 billion, while the UK fell out of the Top 10 to number 13.
(02/21/2011) Investing around $1.3 trillion, which represents about 2% of the world’s gross domestic product (GDP), into ten sectors could move the world economy from fossil-fuel dependent toward a low carbon economy, according to report by the UN Environment Program (UNEP). In addition, the investments would alleviate global poverty and keep stagnating economies humming, while cutting humanity’s global ecological footprint nearly in half by 2050 even in the face of rising populations.
(02/20/2011) According to the global market coal is cheap, yet a new study in the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences finds that the hidden costs of coal are expensive, very expensive. Estimating the hidden costs of coal, such as health and environmental impacts, the study found that burning coal costs the US up to $523 billion a year. Dubbed ‘externalities’ by economists, the paper argues that these costs are paid by the American public.
(01/26/2011) Last night US President Barack Obama called for a massive green energy make-over of the world’s largest economy. Describing the challenge as ‘this generation’s Sputnik moment’ the US president set a goal of producing 80 percent of America’s energy by clean sources by 2035. While this may sound improbable, two recent analyses back the president up, arguing that a global clean energy revolution is entirely possible within a few decades using contemporary technology and without breaking the bank. “Based on our findings, there are no technological or economic barriers to converting the entire world to clean, renewable energy sources,” Mark Z. Jacobson, a professor of civil and environmental engineering at Stanford said in a press release. “It is a question of whether we have the societal and political will.”