China pulling away from EU in low-carbon competitiveness race

Asia is on track to replace Europe as the world’s largest clean energy investment region, with more than one third of the world’s clean energy investment in 2012.

The latest Climate Institute/GE Low-Carbon Competitiveness Index ranks Japan, China and South Korea as three of the top countries for low-carbon development.

France retains its top position, the UK drops from 3rd to 5th while Germany falls from 5th to 6th, but the most significant fall is the USA, which is relegated to 11th from 8th place.

“Asia, particularly China, is building the capability to prosper in the inevitable low-carbon and clean energy future,” said John Connor, CEO of The Climate Institute.

“China’s dramatic improvement is due to its growing investment in clean energy coupled with growing high-tech exports. In 2010 alone, China hosted just under half of total global public equity investment in clean energy.”

The state of global climate leadership: the darker blues indicate high ambition, grey denotes no target while white means there is no data (Click for larger version)

Around 90% of global solar PV manufacturing is now in Asia, while approximately 60% of global wind turbine manufacturing also takes place in the region.

In contrast US high-tech exports are down, while investments in clean energy and physical capital are also falling.

Connor added: “Leaders in the global low-carbon economy are those countries who have recognised the inextricable link between economic growth, resource security and climate change and are acting accordingly.”

“Despite the economic downturn, a number of EU countries have managed to hold on to their relatively good position to compete in the global low-carbon economy. However, Asian countries, particularly China are beginning to threaten the EU’s position as a low-carbon leader.”

The Index measures carbon competitiveness by examining 20 indicators in three areas, sectoral composition (transport, emissions intensity), preparations for a low-carbon economy (investments, emissions growth) and future prosperity (education and infrastructure plans)

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