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A lack of clean energy subsidies leaves America falling behind

09 Jun 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Clean Energy, Congress

Elisabeth Rosenthal of the New York Times reports that America’s lackluster approach to clean energy subsidies is leaving the world’s once-leading innovator in the dust.

As the U.K., China, Japan, and other leading economies widely accept the science behind climate change and are moving rapidly towards developing a clean energy economy, Congress remains caught up in a debate the rest of the world has already decided. 

This lingering doubt is costing the nation dearly—especially when it comes to developing subsidies and promoting investment in clean and efficient technology. While in the U.K., explains Rosenthal, subsidies pay as much as 40-60 percent of homeowner insulation costs, in the U.S., similar subsidies are capped at a mere $500. 

The “uncertainties surrounding key policies and incentives,” the Pew Research Center reports, is putting American competitiveness at risk. Hal Harvey, a Stanford engineer that served as an adviser in both the Clinton and Bush administrations and currently works as the chief executive of ClimateWorks, argues that the U.S. is losing out on a massive economic boost. “This is a $5 trillion business and if we fail to be serious players in the new energy economy, the costs will be staggering to this country,” contends Harvey. 

While Congress bickers over the existence of climate change, the U.S. quietly falls behind.

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