Chinese dragon MorgueFile chaa508For over a year, I’ve been paying attention to the many ways that China is taking the lead, both politically and practically, in clean energy and climate change policy. Today I offer up a few recent updates that are noteworthy—especially as the US passes up opportunity after opportunity to move in the same direction (often using China as a reason for inaction!).

Just so we all get this straight, here’s the gist: China is pumping all kinds of resources into renewable energy sources and at this rate will most definitely corner the global market on clean energy technology; they are building wind farms in Texas—yes, Texas! Right in our back yard (and we have to beg to get at least a few American jobs out of the deal); and the Chinese government is likely to implement a cap and trade system in order to unhitch their economy from dirty fuels and spark further least-cost innovations and efficiency measures—all while creating good, Chinese jobs and beating the global recession.

  • In a story yesterday about China closing down a slew of energy-intensive factories by the end of September, the New York Times reported that Prime Minister Wen Jiabao of China recently promised to use an “iron hand” to improve his country’s energy efficiency. It’s certainly not the way we do things in the US and Canada. But, it shouldn’t mean we do nothing! As a United Steelworkers spokesperson said, “these are communist capitalists!” That’s right and they’re going to profit—big—while they figure out how to curb global warming pollution and shift away from dirty fuels. How smart! Now, why didn’t we think of that??

    Image: MorgueFile, chaa508.