I was asked recently if I thought it was true that China is dragging its feet on emissions cuts because it is waiting until it has a clear lead in green technology, and then it will allow a post-Kyoto climate deal to go ahead, knowing it can sell its technology all over the world market.
There is no doubt that the global race for renewable energy technology leadership is on. It is also clear that delaying a global legally binding agreement on greenhouse gas reductions could help any competing country to overtake Europe. It makes sense for others to try to slow down European renewable energy technology advances while implementing ambitious industrial policy measures at home. It is not only China challenging European leadership, but also the United States, India, South Korea and a growing list of other nations.
Europe invented the Internet and left it for foreign companies to reap the commercial benefits. I would hate to see a similar development in wind energy. Increasing Europe’s emissions reduction target from 20 to 30% would be a smart move to help maintain Europe’s technological leadership. However, the European Commission’s Communication published this week fell short of recommending a 30% cut, which is disappointing. That’s why EWEA has written to MEPs urging them to agree to 30% domestic GHG reductions by 2020, in order to maintain Europe’s leadership in renewable energy technologies, particularly wind power.
A move to 30% would give a very strong signal to investors that Europe means business when it talks about green growth and a sustainable economy.