Same Old Leaders in Energy Investment

I’m surprised that I got to this front page article in the New York Times before either Grist or Climate Progress (I don’t subscribe to info-overload Treehugger anymore). Titled “Gulf Oil States Seeking a Lead in Clean Energy”, there are a few points that need to be touched on:

  1. There’s certainly some greenwashing going on here. These nations contribute overwhelmingly to the production of one of the most ubiquitous greenhouse gases. They’d need some pretty big clown shoes to make the huge carbon footprints they’re responsible for. Green investment is stupendous, but that fact can’t be overlooked.
  2. However, their enormous investments are completely out of America and Europe’s league. $25 million to one research team? This leaves us Westerners in the dust. The joke will be on us. “Energy independence”? Ha! At this rate, we’ll finally make the transition to clean energy in a couple decades, only to find that all the supplier companies are Saudi.
  3. Not wanting to stray to far from the traditional media pack, author Elisabeth Rosenthal makes one statement that I quibble a little bit with:

    For the rest of the world, the enormous cash infusion may provide the important boost experts say is needed to get dozens of emerging technologies — like carbon capture, microsolar and low-carbon aluminum — over the development hump to make them cost-effective.

    Yes, having coal plants not emit CO2 would be good. However, carbon capture is just not in the same league of clean tech as Concentrated Solar Power (CSP), more efficient, cheaper, and more sustainable photovoltaic cells, and other really clean technologies.

Anyway, I hope Romm and Roberts pick up on this soon. I’d love to read their commentary.

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