Clean Tech Report: China Comes In At Rank 2, US Lags Behind At 17

Al Gore will definitely be smiling after reading this piece of news, but will also be wishing that he’d been a bit happier. A report commissioned by the World Wildlife Fund for Nature says that, in terms of percentage contribution to the national GDP, China ranks 2, while the US ranks 17. Denmark, expectedly, leads the table, thanks to its efficient power grid driven primarily by windmills.

An Offshore Windfarm in Denmark

China’s annual earnings from clean tech is valued at $64 billion, or 1.4% of the GDP, while that of the US stands at $45 billion, or 0.3% of the GDP. Denmark lands a $9.4 billion (or Euro 6.5 billion) from clean technologies such as renewable energy and energy efficiency hardware, which amounts to a staggering 3.1% of the GDP.

Al Gore has visited China a number of times over the last two decades and has been greatly impressed by the political will there to make a difference in the green market sector. Chinese green technologies have grown by an astounding 77% annually, according to a report by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). WWF attributes this to the political decisions being made in China relating to the environment. Many coal pits have been closed; oil digging has been made more efficient and sincere effort has been made to decrease the carbon footprint, especially due to automobiles in major cities. Stringent legislations also help the cause. China has been aggressively trying to capture as much of the clean tech market as possible in the last few years. They are pushing hard on self-reliance and leadership in solar and wind energy production. Donald Pols, an economist with the WWF, explains:

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. For them it’s implementation. It’s a growth sector, and they want to capture this sector.

The US has also grown pretty substantially. Its green industries have expanded at 28% annually, which is quite good, even if it doesn’t compare with China. It seems President Obama’s environmental strategy is working.

As Al Gore has repeatedly pointed out, profit doesn’t need to clash with the environment. In fact, environment friendly industries will stand to gain big in the long run. At least at this moment, it seems that he’s right.

Germany, Brazil and Lithuania complete the first five on the list.

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Debjyoti Bardhan

Is a science geek, currently pursuing some sort of a degree (called a PhD) in Physics at TIFR, Mumbai. An enthusiastic but useless amateur photographer, his most favourite activity is simply lazing around. He is interested in all things interesting and scientific.