With millions of jobs up for grabs, China seizes clean tech leadership from United States.
We are witnessing a historic passing of the baton of global leadership on technology and climate from the United States to China.
The new U.S. administration has said it will abandon climate action, gut clean energy funding, and embrace coal and oil — the dirty energy sources of the past that experts say can’t create a large number of sustainable new jobs. At the same time, China is slashing coal use and betting heavily on clean energy, which is clearly going to be the biggest new source of permanent high-wage jobs in the coming years.
Indeed, Beijing plans to invest a stunning $360 billion by 2020 in renewable generation alone, and China’s energy agency says the resulting “employment will be more than 13 million people.”
Meanwhile, the rest of the world has redoubled its commitment to ramping up clean energy and ratcheting down carbon pollution, as required by the Paris climate agreement. That’s a $50 trillion (or more) commitment in the coming decades. That means tens of millions of new jobs in clean energy are up for grabs, something no other emerging sector can match.
Tragically for U.S. workers, while America, under the Obama Administration, helped pave the way for a China deal, and then a global deal, that ensures the world economic prosperity will belong to the countries that lead the way on clean energy, the U.S. elected a president who campaigned on zeroing out clean energy funding and waging a losing battle to stanch the loss of fossil fuel jobs.