Dec 4, 2010

Chinese Government Subsidies Boost Green Technology

from Between the Lines, a weekly radio newsmagazine

While Washington Dawdles, Chinese Government Subsidies Boost Green Technology
Interview with Dan Esty, professor of environmental law and policy at Yale University, conducted by Melinda Tuhus

In recent years, China has become the world's leading producer of greenhouse gases -- having surpassed the U.S. in total, though not per-capita emissions. China is also the global leader in green energy technology production -- wind turbines, solar panels, transmission lines, and more -- as it moves ahead quickly to modernize its energy infrastructure. So while it's building a large number of new coal-fired power plants, the Chinese government is also providing massive subsidies to its green energy sector. Those subsidies have drawn sharp criticism from the U.S. and other countries, who say they create an uneven and unfair playing field in the international trade of green technology.

Esty says that while subsidies to promote the development of specific industries are illegal because they can distort trade, there are some exceptions within the World Trade Organization to promote the greater good, such as environmental protection. But, beyond the traditional culture of national competition, Esty acknowledges that a policy of international cooperation could be a more effective means to develop green energy technology and rein in greenhouse gases that threaten all nations across the planet.

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