|In Davos, Talk of Linking Clean Tech and Economy|
By Martin LaMonica
Green Tech - CNET News
January 30, 2009
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Economic Forum calculates that $515 billion in yearly investment is required
between now and 2030 to transition the world to cleaner sources of energy production.
At its annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, the World Economic Forum released a
report (click for PDF) on Thursday urging policy makers to make clean-technology
incentives and investments part of government stimulus plans to revive flagging economies.
Economists who authored the report said alternative-energy technologies have
the potential to address two pressing global problems--energy security and
climate change--while generating good financial returns.
"It is essential that this stimulus also build our capacity to solve the
longer-term climate crisis. Well-meaning but short-sighted economic stimulus
programs could lock us into a predominately fossil fuel-based world economy for
decades," according to the report.
A number of initiatives related to clean-energy, such as retrofitting government
buildings to be energy-efficient, can create jobs and lay the foundation for
longer-term economic growth, according to the World Economic Forum.
The report identified eight "large-scale clean-energy sectors" that government
policies should seek to promote. They include: onshore wind, offshore wind,
solar-photovoltaic energy, solar-thermal electricity generation, municipal solar
energy, waste-to-energy generation, sugar-based ethanol, cellulosic and
next-generation biofuels, and geothermal power.
In the United States, the Obama administration has made clear that it trying to
tie economic development to clean technology. There are a number of provisions
related to clean energy in a stimulus plan, which just passed the House of
Representatives and could be voted on by the Senate next week.
The World Economic Forum's call for massive investments in clean energy echoes
the International Energy Agency's 2008 annual report. Because of growing energy
demand and climate change, the IEA said the world's energy consumption is
"patently unsustainable. Its report concluded that trillions of dollars are
needed to "decarbonize" the energy infrastructure and curb greenhouse gas
emissions growth. Martin LaMonica is a senior writer for CNET's Green Tech
blog. He started at CNET News in 2002, covering IT and Web development. Before
that, he was executive editor at IT publication InfoWorld. E-mail Martin.