Braving a dark and rainy morning, representatives from green technology companies, financial institutions, both the US and Chinese governments, the local media, and many other groups convened at the PG&E Auditorium on San Francisco's Embarcadero for a day-long event on how to sufficiently scale financing of green and clean energy technologies in the United States in China. This event, organized by the Asia Society and the American Chamber of Commerce in Shanghai in partnership with ChinaSF, the Bay Area Council, the US-China Clean Energy Forum, and the China-US Energy Efficiency Alliance, highlighted the particular challenges facing China and the United States, the two largest energy consumers and pollution emitters in the world, in cleaning up their energy industries in hopes of avoiding the calamities foreseen by many environmental experts as a result of global warming and dependence on fossil fuels.
This last Sunday, an article by Andrew Ross appeared in the San Francisco Chronicle concerning the event. Some of the main "takeaways" from the event as according to Ross included:
-- China has a national plan, the United States does not.
-- China is surging ahead of the United States on renewables, notably wind and solar - "China rules solar panel production, there's no question about that," DeWoskin said.
-- Unless and until the United States introduces carbon pricing, whether by a carbon tax or cap-and-trade (which California is introducing), it will continue to fall behind. "U.S. CEOs are screaming they want to compete," Anda said. "The answer - set a price on carbon."
Through the unilateral decision making power of the Chinese Communist Government, China has been able to make great leaps forward in the green tech sector in the last five years, especially compared to the relatively few steps achieved by America's increasingly gridlocked bipartisan government. That said, China's energy and pollution situation still has a great deal of room for improvement, with many of the world's most polluted cities found within its borders and the vast majority of the country's skyrocketing energy consumption still provided by fossil fuels. Conversely, the situation in America has hope yet, the speed with which the market would support clean tech were the Federal Government to impose a cap-and-trade policy on emissions, which California is slated to implement on the state level in the next year, and the human capital available in this country being cited.
Despite the unique and somewhat dissimilar situations facing the United States and China in regards to the successful reduction in emissions of green house gasses, the message of the event was clear: it is up to China and the United States, their governments and citizens alike, to lead the world in the battle against a warming planet.
"San Francisco Chronicle: "China has a national plan for getting greener"