News & Media Opinion Pieces Are we keeping up with Green Technological Innovation?

Are we keeping up with Green Technological Innovation?

After the shock and depression of Copenhagen some good news is starting to appear. The President of the Maldives has advised that the argument in favour of emission control should be reborn in economics and security. His country, at sea level, is in danger of inundation. The President has said that switching to wind and solar power makes good economic sense and he has pledged his country to become carbon neutral by 2020, so we might ask what is being done within the confines of the Copenhagen Accord before the next summit in Cancun, Mexico, from November 29 to December 1

As of today, a total of 73 countries — 40 developed countries and 33 developing countries have submitted targets or actions to the UN Secretariat Click here You can read about this further here  It is a good start after the disagreements in Copenhagen

Another way of looking at intent is measure production in emission saving technology

A report from Deutsche Bank Group’s Climate Change Advisors Here found that China and Germany are extremely well positioned and the U.S. lags far behind in plans and delivery of technology.

The report identified 154 new policy initiatives announced in countries around the world since October, clearly representing the run-up and then follow-up to the Copenhagen climate summit in December. The new emissions pledges would result in a reduction of annual emissions of about 2.8 gigatons. Add that to all the emissions policies already in place, and, if implemented successfully, they could reduce emissions by 9 gigatons in 2020. This would still fall 3 to 5 gigatons short of the goal of the “stabilization pathway” — the total needed to keep CO2 levels below 450 parts per million and the global temperature rise less than 2 degrees Celsius, but nevertheless it is a start.

Germany already leads the way through long standing feed in tariffs that reward consumers for producing renewable electricity and feeding their excess power into the grid; the Deutsche Bank report calls feed-in tariffs “an integral underpinning of any prosperous green economy.” (Australia continues to ‘debate’ feed in tariffs)

China has installed renewable energy capacity per unit of GDP that exceeds both Germany and the United States. However this may position the country well economically, but it does not imply reduction in emissions as yet because economic growth is so fast.

China is well positioned in the estimated $2.3 trillion clean energy industry by 2020. Does it matter if Australia is lagging? Certainly not in terms of the big picture for track record indicated we will import from China but it matters in terms of employment where many merging studies indicate that jobs are created by moving from fossil fuel to renewable energy industries?

To meet climate change, China is committed to reducing its energy intensity (energy per unit gross domestic product) in 2020 by 40 to 45 percent compared to 2005 and at the same time, it will boost non-fossil fuel and renewable energy to 15 percent of total, and increase forest cover by 40 million hectares over 2005. There have been great strides in renewable energies within the past decade, exceeding successive government targets. Australia has a larger renewables target for 2020 but it is the size of the industrial effort for China to reach 15% which is important for it spells its dominance in renewable energy technologies and raises the prospect that the West may be replacing its dependence on oil from the Middle East with reliance on China for solar panels and wind. This discussion is enlarged Here For the Pew Centre overview Click Here

In conclusion it would be good if the Coalition in Australia would study these economic matters. Whether or not they believe in climate change that is where many of the major countries of the world are putting their money, reshaping their economies and creating jobs

David Shearman