China is determined to achieve the leadership in the current race for a Green Economy, a race in which the United States should excel in theory, considering its technical efficiency, its capitals, and its entrepreneurship.
The American approach is politically debatable, though. Hopes for a new, unique strategy are on the agenda, especially after the Obama administration’s stance towards the Louisiana oil spill. The gap between an ideal business scenario and operational ability remains but still wide.
Innovative choices in sustainable architecture, organic agriculture, environmental contracts, electric automobiles, wind energy, and new materials could also be a solution to unemployment, but funding and consensus are hard to come by nowadays in the US. On the contrary, China is proving to be more lenient in pursuing a Greener Economy.
Beijing has gained the most benefit from the Clean Development Mechanism of the Kyoto Protocol. The agreement states that industrialized countries are granted “polluting rights” as long as they help protect the environment where needed elsewhere around the world. China is one of these countries.
After years of industrial politics, China has become as an international laboratory where countries could easily experiment. But industrialized countries have slowed down their rates of clean investment in China as a result of the 2008 crisis.
According to the World Bank, a study shows that the reduction of CO2 emissions halved from 2008 to 2009. China therefore seems more motivated to follow the path to Green Economy with its own means. There is a “China Consensus” that Green Economy offers a model where profits can be made not only ‘in respect’ to the environment, but ‘because of’ it.
The harmonious merge between economy and nature thus becomes a strong point, not an obstacle. The most visible examples are China’s industrial and technological achievements. In 1999, China produced a mere 1% of solar panels worldwide: after a decade, it conquered a 32% market share, and a $15billion export worth.
For turbine and wind energy, China is now the strongest global leader. Washington hesitates while Beijing is accelerating. Traditionally, private American companies are masters of valuing new sectors. Between 2000 and 2008, the American macro-sector attracted investments for US $ 52 billion in funds, only slightly more than China’s $ 48 billion.
While China is approaching, lack of courage and innovation in Obama’s Administration could motivate American technological companies to look at China, where the green market is more promising. In this case, the technological gap between U.S. and China is soon to vanish, if not to switch altogether.