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Asian nations could outpace U.S. in developing clean energy

"Asian nations could outpace U.S. in developing clean energyAmerican markets' slump feeds worry(By Steven Mufs via Washington Post)President Obama has often described his push to fund ""clean"" energy
technology as key to America's drive for international competitiveness as
well as a way to combat climate change.""There's no longer a question about whether the jobs and the industries of
the 21st century will be centered around clean, renewable energy,"" he said
on June 25. ""The only question is: Which country will create these jobs and
these industries? And I want that answer to be the United States of
America.""But the leaders of India, South Korea, China and Japan may have different
answers. Those Asian nations are pouring money into renewable energy
industries, funding research and development and setting ambitious targets
for renewable energy use. These plans could outpace the programs in Obama's
economic stimulus package or in the House climate bill sponsored by Reps.
Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.).""If the Waxman-Markey climate bill is the United States' entry into the
clean energy race, we'll be left in the dust by Asia's clean-tech tigers,""
said Jesse Jenkins, director of energy and climate policy at the
Breakthrough Institute, an Oakland, Calif.-based think tank that favors
massive government spending to address global warming.Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Commerce Secretary Gary Locke are visiting
China this week to discuss cooperation on energy efficiency, renewable
energy and climate change. But even though developing nations refused to
agree to an international ceiling for greenhouse gases last week, China and
other Asian nations are already devoting more attention to cutting their
use of traditional fossil fuels such as oil, natural gas and coal.South Korea recently said it plans to invest about 2 percent of its GDP
annually in environment-related and renewable energy industries over the
next five years, for a total of $84.5 billion. The government said it would
try to boost South Korea's international market share of ""green technology""
products to 8 percent by expanding research and development spending and
strengthening industries such as those that produce light-emitting diodes,
solar batteries and hybrid cars.China and India are kick-starting their solar industries. India aims to
install 20 gigawatts of solar power by 2020, more than three times as much
as the photovoltaic solar power installed by the entire world last year,
the industry's best year ever. And China's new stimulus plan raises the
nation's 2020 target for solar power from 1.8 gigawatts to 20 gigawatts. (A
gigawatt is about what a new nuclear power plant might generate.)ad_icon""China is trying to catch up in a global race to find alternatives to
fossil fuels,"" the official China Daily said in an article last week.""A lot of people underestimate how focused China is on becoming a global
leader in clean technology,"" said Brian Fan, senior director of research at
the Cleantech Group, a market research firm. China now provides a $3-a-watt
subsidy upfront for solar projects, he said, enough to cover about half the
capital cost. Fan said it is ""the most generous subsidy in the world"" for
solar power.China is also expected to boost its long-term wind requirement to 150
gigawatts, up from the current 100 gigawatt target, by 2020, industry
sources said. Jenkins said China could provide $44 billion to $66 billion
for wind, solar, plug-in hybrid vehicles and other projects. Fan said China
also plans to make sure that many of the orders go to its own firms, Gold
Wind and Sinovel.The big Asian research and investment initiatives come as U.S. policy
makers boast about their own plans, giving ammunition to those who say this
country needs to do more.""That R&D represents America's chance to become the world's leader in the
most important emerging economic sector: energy technology,"" said House