China’s interest in clean energy presents an enormous business opportunity as well as an environmental one. Unfortunately, it is an opportunity that the United States has not yet fully seized. A study released in October by former World Bank Chief Economist Nicholas Stern on the economic impact of climate change calculated that the markets for low-carbon energy projects will be worth at least $500 billion by 2050. In other words, combating global warming is not only an environmental necessity, but a vast economic opportunity. [Full Text]
This is an update of an op-ed the pair did for the Washington Post in December, shortly after US Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson completed a trip to China to push for currency reform and a crackdown on intellectual property infringements.
Paulson is scheduled to testify before Congress tomorrow.
The Treasury Secretary, they write, “could pave the way for green technology to become as successful of a U.S. export to China as airplanes and software by striking an agreement with his Chinese counterpart to facilitate such transactions.”
They also note Morgan Stanley’s recent announcement that it plans to invest $3 billion in the carbon trading market and other clean energy related projects. This, however, may not be the exactly the kind of virtuous investment Ogden and McDonough are looking for. A number of recent reports have looked at how China may be manipulating the carbon-trading market in ways that don’t necessarily help the environment.