Wait… Is China Really the Leader in Green Energy?


Human caused Global Warming is basically an accepted fact in most parts of said globe. 147 countries have signed and ratified the Paris Agreement, meaning they’re taking steps to keep the climate from warming more than 2 degrees celsius from pre-industrial levels. But one of the biggest polluters has just announced they’re backing out of the agreement. Can you guess who that is? That’s right. It’s us. Or the U.S., if you’re not us. And while that will be catastrophic for the world because of the whole sea level rise and droughts and hurricanes thing, it could also be a serious blunder for the U.S. economically. Saving the planet means changing how we produce and use energy. Two favorite alternative sources are solar and wind. If the whole world is going to want these renewables, then whoever can make the best, cheapest, most efficient solar panels or wind turbines will win. It’s a wind-win, if you will.

And that brings us back to the United States, and our will-they-or-won’t they relationship with accepting climate change. While other nations invest tens and even hundreds of billions in renewables, we could be stuck offering a product that nobody wants anymore. Eventually if we do come around, we’ll likely have to rely on importing technology that was developed elsewhere. Considering an American invented the solar cell in 1941, that’s a heck of a lead to blow. So, if we’re not taking the lead on this, who is? China. China has plenty of coal to meet their needs, so you might think they, like coal and natural gas loving America, would be inclined to keep on burning. But Chinese cities are famously polluted, and it’s hard to ignore when cities of 10s of millions of people ask if they can just breathe a little bit better, please? China has answered in a big way.

They started with a 5 year plan to raise wind output nearly 63 percent and more than double solar production by 2020. They’re also constructing 20 new nuclear power plants with more planned, using and improving on technology from the west. According to one report, they could spend as much as $782 Billion dollars to meet their emission targets by 2030. Why isn’t the US following suit? In a word, politics. Somehow climate science has become a partisan issue over here, and conservatives tend to write it off as a liberal cause. Many conservatives see solutions to global warming as something that could hurt the economy. Basically, environmental restrictions can get in the way of businesses doing business. However, there are some on the right that see an economic opportunity with solving some issues surrounding man-made global warming.

Debbie Dooley, a founder of the far right Tea Party, is a big advocate for solar power and has gotten bans on solar lifted in Georgia because she believes consumers should have a choice. James Cason, the republican mayor of Coral Gables, Florida believes people everywhere should worry about sea level rise because of how much of our economy is dependent on goods coming in and out of ports. Even if you don’t believe in climate change, investing in renewable energy is the smart thing to do. It’s what the rest of the world is demanding, and the first rule of sales is to give the people what they want. Investing in solar and wind could not only save the world as we know it, but we could make a buck while we’re at it. What’s more American than that? Environmentalism may be a partisan issue now, but it didn’t use to be this way. Matt Morales follows how we got to this point in his video here. Even if you’re a climate skeptic, do you still think it’s worth investing in green technology? Let us know in the comments, like and subscribe for more, and thanks for watching Seeker.