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Energy to an Economy is Like Oxygen to the Human Body

April 22, 2013, 2:21 PM

You have a Chinese dictatorship in a foot race with a democracy over who’s going to own the energy future.  The democracy was winning and then we got stuck on stupid in D.C.

So the dictatorship in China is now poised to outcompete us.  We don't have anything to learn from them about most things.  There is something to be said, though, for some level of national consensus building for what used to be called industrial policy.  The idea has become a dirty word in the United States, but it’s a common phrase all around the world.  The idea is there’s some things in your country that are special and you may want the national government to take a special interest in.  Energy is always special to a country.  Energy to an economy is like oxygen to the human body.  No energy, no economy.  No oxygen, no human body.

So energy is special.  And my view would be China has recognized that and they have a plan. Now, they have a top-down plan dictated by the government of what to do.  We need to put some market signals in place so that we can get some bottom-up innovation so that we can also take energy and climate seriously.  I don't think we should follow their dictatorial approach, but their smart priority on diversifying their energy portfolio and creating jobs is something that we should match them on, again.  

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