Cap-and-Trade May Be Wounded, But The Low Carbon Economy is Still Healthy

11/5/10

Some 61 percent of California voters this week showed they still believe in the economic promise of clean energy. Californians rejected Proposition 23 that would have rolled back policies to limit greenhouse gas emissions and develop clean energy.

Their vote of confidence reminds us that even though comprehensive federal climate legislation may be off the table today in Washington D.C., the business and economic development opportunities of a low carbon future remain.

Several hundred leaders from business and finance, government, utilities, research and education, clean energy advocates and nonprofits are gathering to talk about emerging ideas in the energy sector next week at Convention Place in Seattle for the Washington State Future Energy Conference and our second annual State Energy Summit.

Gov. Chris Gregoire and British Columbia Minister of State for Climate Action John Yap are among the scheduled presenters over three days.

The transition to a low carbon economy is a worldwide opportunity. Global markets are moving from dependence on carbon-based fuels to a mix of renewable sources—solar, wind, geothermal, nuclear, biomass and tidal energy. Transportation and energy transmission infrastructure is evolving and becoming more intelligent. Homes and buildings are being designed and built to be more efficient and sustainable. Mass market electric vehicles are coming to the U.S.

We saw it on the Governor’s recent trade mission to China, where wind and solar energy are taking hold. According to a 2009 Pew research study, China invested $34.6 billion in clean energy—twice as much as the U.S. They’ve dedicated over $200 billion in government stimulus to renewable energy and related investments.

The Governor is in Germany today to help celebrate the opening of the BMW-SGL plant, where carbon fiber produced in Moses Lake will go into BMW’s revolutionary Megacity electric car. Throughout the world, new technology and development are pouring into clean energy and sustainable growth.

Our state is better positioned … Next Page »

Rogers Weed is the Director of the Washington State Department of Commerce and also co-chairs the Clean Energy Leadership Council and State Energy Strategy initiative. Follow @

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  • T. Luxer

    California in in denial! California has the most generous/expensive “green” subsidy program in America with State subsidies for solar and wind nearly matching the federal subsidies. The problem is – California can not afford to continue with this! I lived in California for 5 years. Something in the water has made the folks out there wacky. To reference this state as a positive example for anything is hilarious! Its the state that gave us Arnold, Barbara Boxer, Maxine Waters and Nancy Pilossi and soon to be back in power is Jerry Brown. State income tax is 10% and state sales tax is another 10% in most areas and yet the state is still running massive annual budget deficits. California in in denial and it ain’t denial dats in Egypt!!!!!!!

    Also, when you reference Germany, realize that Germany is very different from the USA. Germany has no fossil fuels left. Conservation for purely economic reasons should be Germany’s goal. But, the backbone of the German economy still runs on Coal imported from Africa and the USA. Germany should be embracing nuclear power, but it isn’t.

    http://californiawatch.org/watchblog/californias-debt-levels-soar-under-schwarzenegger-5408

  • Alex White

    We should reward innovation, instead of trying to tax the bad guys, like coal. The government should provide prize money or $.02-$.04 per kWh for clean electric energy.

    Most of DOE’s “investments” and the 2% of the $1 trillion “stimulus” went to silly tried-and-untrue development deals. Wind and solar are not yet affordable.

    I like this group in SF – http://www.2020b.com , they have “breakthroughs,” not just another unprofitable wind or solar deal. Look at their video, it’s Idea number 3.

    America better get smarter. We need innovations, not new laws.