Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Watching China Win


Wind turbine in Chinese  風力發電機組.  Time to start learning green tech in Chinese!! Every month the US waits to implement policy we fall behind the future largest economic power in the world.  Pushing business to internalize the costs of its environmental externalities, in tandem with research and development incentives in green tech will position the US economy for long-term success.

Did you know that, according to the documentary Who Killed the Electric Car, Toyota developed the Prius out of panic that they had to compete in the electric market in the United States after California passed the Zero-Emissions Vehicle mandate in 1990?  Because GM made a lower margin on electric vehicles and didn't think they were profitable yet across the country they fought hard against the mandate, along with other automakers, and were successful.  The power of policy is inexplicable in developing the green economy.

While climate change is a threat to our well-being it is not a limit on our economy! Clean energy technology might be the only industry capable of driving a new decade of economic growth. Much like the internet, before that computers, and before that bioengineering, we now have an opportunity to lead the world in technology. Unfortunately, this country cannot look past five years in making decisions. Coal states and global warming skeptics will cripple our potential to take the lead in the economy of the future.  The debate needs to move from whether or not global warming is happening, to how can public policy enhance the competitiveness of US businesses in green technology.

Why is the promotion of a carbon tax or a gasoline tax limited to the world's best thinkers and economists?  If the trajectory of discussion does not change, and policy remains stagnant, we should all be prepared to take a seat and watch China dominate the green revolution.


Anonymous said...

"If the trajectory of discussion does not change, and policy remains stagnant, we should all be prepared to take a seat and watch China dominate the green revolution."

The Chinese have an huge labor cost advantage. They will have this for the next 100 years probably. But what, do you think the chinese are smarter than we are, that we need to subsidize wind turbines and tax efficient coal power to stay ahead of the Chinese? Wht is it with left wing Americans, why do they hve no faith in themselves. America will dominate this green market if it ever becomes worth dominating. We'll see if the green revolution becomes anything other than the projected .5% market share for electric cars. Lol!

Chris Rhodenbaugh said...

I advocate for short term subsidization of green technology that has been proven to reduce our need of foreign oil in a variety of ways including a carbon tax, cap and trade, investing in research and development, and giving tax breaks on environmentally friendly products. The easiest and most efficient way to do it would be to implement a carbon tax. That tax would finally make users of energy internalize the environmental costs they create. Money is needed to drive innovation, and changes in policy that penalize polluting while rewarding environmental stewardship will drive capital to green industry at an extraordinary rate. It is not about who is smarter the US or China, but who invests more to be well positioned internationally when this industry explodes in growth.