What nation is leading the race for clean energy? According to an opinion piece in today’s Washington Post by two luminaries in the business world, John Doerr (Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers) and Jeffrey Immelt (GE), the answer is China.

“China’s commitment to developing clean energy technologies and markets is breathtaking.

Consider: Chinese cars are more than one-third more fuel-efficient than U.S. cars. China is investing 10 times as much on clean power, as a percentage of gross domestic product, as the United States is. China is on track to create 150,000 jobs through the deployment of 120 gigawatts of wind power by 2020 – an amount equivalent to today’s global total and nearly five times America’s. As a result, China is already curbing its carbon emissions substantially. This year alone, it will abate almost 350 million tons of CO2, as compared with business as usual. That’s as much as is emitted by Argentina.”

What’s wrong with the U.S.? According to Doerr and Immelt, “There is no long-term market signal to tell companies and consumers that it values low-carbon energy,” and hasn’t made the long-term R&D commitment to green energy. Doerr and Immelt make five recommendations:

– Put a price on carbon and a cap on carbon emissions.

– Establish Smart Grid standards.

– Set escalating energy-use standards in regard to buildings, cars and appliances.

– Expand clean energy R&D, and use the Clean Energy Deployment Administration proposal as a starting point.

– Open overseas markets (e.g., China) for U.S. clean-energy products.

Regarding the above-mentioned CEDA proposal, its architect, U.S. Senator Jeff Bingaman, explains more about these ideas in the video below: