You hear it all the time, one of the most frequently voiced excuses for Western countries failing to radically cut carbon dioxide emissions: Taking any such action would hand a massive competitive advantage to fast-industrializing China.
Yet evidence is piling up that the very opposite is the case. The main challenge from the world’s new industrial superpower is not that it will continue to use the dirty, old technologies of the past, but that it will come to dominate the new, clean, green ones of the future.
As developed nations fail to put an adequate price on carbon, and thus to stimulate clean-technology development themselves, they risk handing market supremacy to the rival they most fear. Indeed, it could even be hypothesized that China’s blocking of agreement on rich-country emission targets in Copenhagen was intended to hold back the development of cleantech by its Western rivals.
Visitor after distinguished visitor to the world’s most populous country returns home shaken, if not stirred, by the speed and determination with which it is adopting these technologies, especially in renewable energy. David Sandalow, the U.S. assistant ... Read more