The clean tech race is on. While the Chinese are investing heavily in clean technologies and in the process creating jobs….what are we doing? We are overturning environmental initiatives. We have groups such as the Tea Party who are well financed by the oil companies trying to overturn environmental regulations in states like California. They claim it is about protecting jobs, when in fact it is about protecting oil company profits. And meanwhile the Chinese have clearly defined strategic goals to make clean tech a pillar of their society.
The arguments that environmental protection hurts job creation reminds me of India after the British were kicked out. India closed their borders from foreign trade and taxed heavily any imports. This was about protecting jobs and foreign intervention. Many of the jobs within India were in protected industries. Over the years India fell increasingly behind the rest of the world. Inefficiency and poor quality became the norm.
The parallel here is that China is progressing ambitiously towards a Green future. And what are we doing? We have groups that are protecting the interests of the oil companies and in so doing, we’ll stand the risk of increasingly falling behind in clean technologies.
See Thomas Friedman in the NYTimes