When President Barack Obama called for the United States to lead energy innovation in his inauguration speech in January, he spoke with a sense of urgency. He put energy at the forefront of the country’s industrial competitiveness. And the rival at the forefront of his mind was no doubt China.
It was an acknowledgement of how close the world’s two biggest economies could be in the Green Race. While many assume that the United States will retain its lead in innovation, various factors may complicate Obama’s dream. Scale, financial resources and the impacts of environmental degradation are perhaps the principal ones. In all three respects, the driving forces behind China’s energy revolution are greater.