At Copenhagen, China may have been reluctant to sign an international treaty that heavily restricts its carbon emissions, but a new report from the Pew Environmental Group says that private investors there are pouring more money into clean energy than investors in any other country.
The total investment of $34.6 billion in China last year displaced the United States from the top spot.
Last year, the U.S. invested $18.6 billion, the second highest amount in the world. As a percent of GDP, however, the figure is relatively small. By this measure, Spain invested five times more last year, and China, Brazil and the United Kingdom invested 3 times more. The United States is also about to be edged out of its lead in installed renewable energy capacity, with rapid growth in installations in China leading to a “virtual tie” last year.
The report attributes the large investment in China to national renewable energy and energy efficiency standards and other incentives there. It also noted that most of the money is going to financing existing clean energy technologies, not to venture capital to promote the development of new technologies. In this arena, the United States is still by far the leading country.