Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Tom Friedman - Who Will Win the Race to Lead the Global Clean Energy Economy?

This gem of a piece from Tom Friedman makes no bones about China being poised to blow America out of the water in the race to lead the world's emerging Clean Energy Economy:

Being in China right now I am more convinced than ever that when historians look back at the end of the first decade of the 21st century, they will say that the most important thing to happen was not the Great Recession, but China’s Green Leap Forward. The Beijing leadership clearly understands that the E.T. — Energy Technology — revolution is both a necessity and an opportunity, and they do not intend to miss it.

We, by contrast, intend to fix Afghanistan. Have a nice day.

O.K., that was a cheap shot. But here’s one that isn’t: Andy Grove, co-founder of Intel, liked to say that companies come to “strategic inflection points,” where the fundamentals of a business change and they either make the hard decision to invest in a down cycle and take a more promising trajectory or do nothing and wither. The same is true for countries.

The U.S. is at just such a strategic inflection point. We are either going to put in place a price on carbon and the right regulatory incentives to ensure that America is China’s main competitor/partner in the E.T. revolution, or we are going to gradually cede this industry to Beijing and the good jobs and energy security that would go with it.

It's sad that America is pre-occupied with false flag issues like drilling, abstinence education and the stupid exploits of Tiger Woods and Sarah Palin.  As China awakens, our government's outdated and surficial thinking -- and paralyzing servitude to 20th century energy industries -- reminds me of the hubris of the late Roman Empire.  A century ago, did the horse industry go out so strongly kicking and screaming that policies favoring cars and oil would bring America to ruin?

Even when Congress tries to solve problems like our increasingly unaffordable health insurance costs, our foolish oil addiction, and our inadequate financial regulatory system, they can't seem to get anything done.  From California to the Federal government, an extreme minority is obstructing progress. 

I've written about the need for Senate leadership to grow themselves a pair on climate change and clean energy legislation, and to follow through on the campaign promises that lead to us electing a significant Democratic majority after a decade of Republican policy disasters. 

It's time to be bold, to welcome the hatred of enemies of progress, and to get the job done.

For those who are obstructing the Senate's efforts to pass strong climate change and clean energy legislation, I have one question: what are you are for?  

Are you for the consequences of inaction that Friedman warns of: ceding our leadership in the clean energy economy to China, as well as the jobs and security that will come with it? 

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