China’s green investment strategy lauded


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US ENERGY secretary Steven Chu has said advances in the development of renewable energy in China may improve his administration’s chances of convincing climate change doubters in the US.

The Nobel physics laureate, who is visiting Ireland, said he was aware China was undertaking a major “green stimulus investment” designed to cut carbon emissions, secure energy and attract sustainable jobs to China.

Dr Chu acknowledged the recent US elections, in which the Republicans won control of the House of Representatives, could create difficulties for his administration’s climate change and energy strategy, which relies heavily on the development of low-carbon renewable energy.

However he said action by China and Europe in reducing emissions and moving to green technologies may help convince doubters in the US. “They won’t want to be left behind,” he said.

Dr Chu, who spoke after touring the “Wavebob” marine energy facility in Co Kildare, said he believed nothing less than a new industrial revolution was necessary to combat climate change and provide energy security. He commended Ireland’s renewable energy targets and ambition to supply Europe with “clean energy”.

Wavebob has already received €1.8 million in funding from the US to advance its project and Dr Chu said the US government had put up a fund of €64 billion for new green technologies.

He called for inventors and “smart scientists” to get excited about the opportunities. “It is not like times in the past when we said to inventors ‘we will give you a pot of money for three years and then want to see what you have done before we give you some more’. We want to say here is a pot of money . . . go and solve the problem.”

Dr Chu also urged Ireland to continue subsidies for renewable energy to provide long-term certainty in the market and to encourage investment.

Another strand to US energy and climate policy was rebuilding infrastructure to be low carbon emitting and getting greater energy efficiency in homes and transport. He said nuclear power would also continue to be a feature of US energy policy, describing it as a “clean technology”.


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