Australia left behind in renewables economy

US may steal green march on us   THE AUSTRALIAN Peter Beattie | October 17, 2009 WHEN an investor with the track record of US billionaire George Soros is prepared to put serious money into clean technology, it’s time to realise the climate change debate is more than a passing fad…………..

Last week Californian Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger delivered a powerful renewable-energy message at a three-day global summit in Los Angeles to an audience of more than 1000 delegates including 40 governors and premiers. The “governator” will be in Copenhagen for the UN climate change conference as part of a push by sub-national governments to ensure their voices are heard in the negotiations for a successor to Kyoto.

The next iteration of the UN’s so-called Framework Convention on Climate Change, with its likely ambitious emission reduction targets, will be critical in determining where the world economy heads in the next 10-20 years. The Governor and his colleagues from states and provinces across the world want to be a meaningful part of that…………………

Even this week, US President Barack Obama has signed an order requiring federal agencies to set a 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target within 90 days, plus a range of other sustainability measures. This is not mere tokenism. The US government occupies nearly 500,000 buildings, operates more than 600,000 vehicles, employs more than 1.8 million civilians and buys more than $US500bn in goods and services each year.

Having watched the drive for clean technology in the US and Canada in the past 19 months I am convinced the pace of change has quickened. The fastest growing sector of the California jobs market is green jobs and clean technology gets more venture capital funding than anything else, more than biotech and more than software.

There is no doubt renewable energy sources will be big drivers of the world economy by 2020 and the main drivers by 2030. Obama talks about a renewable energy revolution, which he recognises as “the great opportunity of our time”. The President is very clear about where the prosperity of the USlies: “The nation that leads the worldin creating new sources of clean energy will be the nation that leads the 21st-century global economy.

US may steal green march on us | The Australian

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