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China Recognized as One of the Top Clean Technology Producers by World Wildlife Fund

Word Wildlife LogoDespite wrestling with tremendous environmental problems associated with developing its economy, China has nevertheless been recognized as one of the top clean technology producers by World Wildlife Fund. This is not a small accomplishment on China’s part and is a testament of the continuous effort and progress China is making in this important arena.

According to this Washington Post report, Denmark tops list of clean technology producers; China is No. 2; US at 17 is rapidly expanding.

Here is a copy of the Washington Post report:

AMSTERDAM — Denmark earns the biggest share of its national revenue from producing windmills and other clean technologies, the United States is rapidly expanding its clean-tech sector, but no country can match China’s pace of growth, according to a new report obtained by The Associated Press.

China’s production of green technologies has grown by a remarkable 77 per cent a year, according to the report, which was commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature and which will be unveiled on Monday at an industry conference in Amsterdam.

“The Chinese have made, on the political level, a conscious decision to capture this market and to develop this market aggressively,” said Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF.

Denmark, a longtime leader in wind energy, derives 3.1 percent of its gross domestic product from renewable energy technology and energy efficiency, or about euro6.5 billion ($9.4 billion), the report said.

China is the largest producer in money terms, earning more than euro44 billion ($64 billion), or 1.4 percent of its gross domestic product.

The U.S. ranks 17 in the production of clean technologies with 0.3 percent of GDP, or euro31.5 billion ($45 billion), but those industries have been expanding at a rate of 28 percent per year since 2008.

“The U.S. is growing substantially, so it seems the policy of (President Barack) Obama is working,” Pols said. But the U.S. cannot compare with China, he said.

“When you speak to the Chinese, climate change is not an ideological issue. It’s just a fact of life. While we debate climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy, the debate is passed in China,” Pols said. “For them it’s implementation. It’s a growth sector, and they want to capture this sector.”

The report was prepared by Roland Berger Strategy Consultants, a global firm based in Germany. It gathered data on 38 countries from energy associations, bank and brokerage reports, investor presentations, the International Energy Agency and a score of other sources. It measured the earnings from producing renewables like biofuels, wind turbines and thermal equipment, and energy efficiency technology such as low-energy lighting and insulation.

“Clean technologies are really growing fast, but China is responsible for the majority of that growth,” said Ward van den Berg, who compiled and analyzed the data for the consultancy firm.

Until recently, Chinese massive production of solar cells was aimed at the export market, but they are now making solar systems for the home market, as they have been doing for several years in wind energy, Van den Berg said.

Following Denmark and China, other countries in the top five clean-tech producers, in terms of percentage of GDP, are Germany, Brazil and Lithuania, the report said.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

  1. ed
    May 9th, 2011 at 10:38 | #1

    Of course China is at the very top of the list. It’s government subsidizes green energy products, giving China’s companies an unfair advantage, a classic example of protectionism. This is a cause of great global controversy.

  2. May 9th, 2011 at 11:03 | #2

    @ed,

    Yikes. China is nurturing its industries – as it promised to do. China’s incentives are broadbased – not directed (such as toward exporters) to game international trade.

    If you want to characterize China’s actions as “to subsidize” – then you might as well as call all government attempts anywhere around the globe at incentivizing industries to do anything to constitute a “subsidy.” All grants, all tax, all regulatory incentives are subsidies. Even intellectual property – created to incentivize creation and disclosure of innovations in the form of monopoly – which has long been recognized as a tax of consumers for the benefit of producers – is a subsidy created for certain types of producers.

  3. Charles Liu
    May 9th, 2011 at 12:27 | #3

    Do US government not give subsidies:

    – recent congressional action to cut social program to preserve billions of tax credit for oil industry.
    – list of top 100 companies that do not pay tax are mostly due to industry subsidies.
    – didn’t US govt spent a trillion dollars so BP Chevron can get into Iraq?

  4. May 9th, 2011 at 18:02 | #4

    Reminds me about a relative from my wife’s side of the family who we met in Guilin. He works for a shoe manufacturer in Shenzhen. He is working with a friend to try to convert the factory into making something green energy related. He said shoes are moving ‘inland.’

    While my example is an anecdote, I feel the following characterization is very true – China is implementing:

    “When you speak to the Chinese, climate change is not an ideological issue. It’s just a fact of life. While we debate climate change and the transition to a low carbon economy, the debate is passed in China,” Pols said. “For them it’s implementation. It’s a growth sector, and they want to capture this sector.”

  5. xian
    May 9th, 2011 at 18:35 | #5

    Nothin’ wrong with protectionism IMO.

  6. May 10th, 2011 at 00:25 | #6

    @xian #5,

    If one side engages if “protectionism” (however defined), than other sides can take defensive maneuvers. Nothing wrong with that – WTO even allows for it. But this would result in a less free international trade regime than we currently have.

    To the extent international trade grows the pie, then “protectionism” – by reducing trade and the overall pie – is bad.

  7. xian
    May 10th, 2011 at 02:00 | #7

    @Allen
    That’s true, but we both know it’s going to happen anyway. No country is going to just open up completely and leave their all assets vulnerable to foreign buyers. Most countries are more interested in the pie they’re getting, not the size of the pie worldwide. Not to mention sometimes it’s necessary to protect your own fledgling economy. So since protectionism won’t be going away anytime soon, I say it’s best to play it right and use it when appropriate.

  8. May 10th, 2011 at 06:52 | #8

    Iceland’s currency crisis is very enlightening to why China should regulate its currency instead of “free float”.

    Iceland basically tried to globalize its tiny banking system too quickly, and ended up with insufficient funds to pay back debts, when it ran out of Euro’s and no one wanted the Icelandic currency.

    Regulation is always necessary to prevent foreign manipulation in one’s own market. Domestic market manipulation is always in response to foreign manipulations in the same market.

  9. May 10th, 2011 at 08:56 | #9

    http://prestowitz.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2011/05/10/us_orthodoxy_on_china_is_nonsense

    What to make of this gobbledygook? Let’s try to connect the dots. If China is becoming more overtly and harshly repressive and shutting down run-of-the-mill U.S. Embassy activity in Beijing, why do the Times and the Post insist that the Obama administration try to make it easier for U.S. companies to invest there? Wouldn’t such investment only prove to the Chinese that Americans don’t care about repression even of their own embassy as long as their companies can put a few more factories in China?

    Similarly, why do the media mavens want U.S. companies to invest in China when the rising U.S. trade deficit is contributing to rising unemployment? Wouldn’t it be better if they invested in America? The Post says that such offshore investment creates demand in China for exports of U.S. parts and supplies to feed the U.S. company factories in China. But recent studies by the Council on Foreign Relations demonstrate that this is no longer true. And even if it were true, why would U.S. pundits and policymakers want U.S. companies to put more factories and products in China so that they can transfer technology, much of which has been developed with U.S. taxpayer money, to China faster? For that matter, why do the companies want to do this? I mean, the tenure of CEOs must be getting really short.

    The answer: Elites rule in US. They are talking out of both ends of themselves, to sell a fear message to the public, at the same time trying to make butt loads of money for themselves.

  10. May 10th, 2011 at 12:18 | #10

    Here is an interesting take by Bill Gates about China’s apparent move into Green tech.

    Here is an excerpt of a Forbes report:

    Bill Gates On Clean Energy: Why China Won’t Lead The Way

    China’s move to add renewable energy and nuclear generation capacity is remarkable, but the U.S. still maintains the lead on energy innovation, Bill Gates told a sold-out crowd at a breakfast in Seattle this morning. The topic was climate change. “China is very important and can be part of the solution here,” Gates said. “But as for the power to innovate in sciences, the U.S. still has the dominant position.”

    Gates has invested in a number of energy companies, including an innovative nuclear power company TerraPower. He is clearly well versed in the topic, and put China’s embrace of solar, wind and nuclear power in perspective. “For solar, a lot of the manufacturing is happening in China, but a lot of the innovation is taking place in the U.S. The innovation will happen where there are great universities” doing basic research, Gates said. “I know of 100 great new energy ideas. I’d say 70% of them are based here in the U.S.”

    But very importantly, the report notes:

    Gates also chided the U.S. government, saying “The energy sector is going to be underinvested unless the government comes in.” He also called for the government to make its energy policy clearer.

    “Some days when I meet with scientists, I feel very optimistic,” he explained. “Then I step back and look at the politics” and that optimism fades.

    So responding to ed #1 again. Government has a role to play in incentivizing development of new industries. For an industry as big and important to our overall welfare as green tech, this role rises to that of a duty. The Chinese gov’t is pulling its weight, the U.S. is not. When others are doing right, don’t blame others to offset another’s incompetence – accusing the one doing right of giving out “subsidy,” for example – when the blame needs to go to the incompetent for not doing enough…

  11. raventhorn2000
    May 11th, 2011 at 08:04 | #11

    Gates’ comments are reflective of US business sentiments:

    (1) US is still #1 in innovations.
    (2) US government needs to help businesses (tax cuts, etc.)

    But US businesses have felt this way probably for a long time.

    Innovations is about generating more economy, more opportunities, more efficiencies for society.

    Innovations alone without the “generating” part, are nothing at all.

    Of course the governments must help to “generate” the other parts that come after the innovations.

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