This article from Foreign Policy mag has some eye-popping stats:
But before you pack up the kids and move to higher ground to avoid rising sea levels, consider this: China’s fuel economy standards for passenger vehicles are already around 25 percent tougher than those in the United States. The country generated 667 terawatt-hours of electricity from hydro, wind, and nuclear electricity in 2009, a 50 percent increase on four years earlier (and 10 percent more than Brazil’s or India’s current annual electricity consumption). China already accounts for one-quarter of the world’s installed capacity of wind, small-scale hydro, biomass, solar, geothermal, and marine power facilities. And the overall amount of energy used to produce a dollar of GDP in China has dropped 5 percent every year since 1980, according to Qi Ye at the Climate Policy Initiative in Beijing.
China’s attempt at a green leap forward isn’t entirely new news — but this isn’t just a Chinese story. Developing countries as a whole accounted for two-thirds of the growth in renewable and nuclear power generating capacity worldwide between 2002 and 2008, according to my colleague David Wheeler at the Center for Global Development. The developing world is now home to more than half of the world’s renewable energy generating capacity, and it is likely to extend that lead.
Going forward, Wheeler reports that India is planning to generate 15 percent of its energy from renewable sources by 2020, up from less than 2 percent today. Ten thousand megawatts of that — a little under 10 percent — would come from new solar energy installations (to put that in perspective, that’s more than total global solar photovoltaic capacity in 2007). At the U.N. global warming conference in Cancún, Mexico, last year, developing countries pledged to restrict their carbon emissions considerably more than did rich country delegations. In particular, China’s promised reductions from what would happen under “business as usual” were a lot larger than promises made by the United States. Indeed, in the U.S. case, some calculations suggest the pledge may amount to the commitment to do nothing, which sounds all too plausible
Its actually not a surprise that developing nations are taking a lead on the UK and USA.
First, they have more to lose from global warming.
Second, they don’t suffer from a small but well-financed and vociferous group of idiot right-wing libertarians who say investment in green technology is a bad idea.
Third, they see alternative energy and other green technology as the future, and want to get ahead while the USA and UK twiddle their thumbs with political paralysis.
I, for one, welcome our soon-to-be overlords.
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Filed in: Environmentalism