US: China rise a 'Sputnik moment' for clean energy
WASHINGTON (AFP) – A senior US official called China's growing innovation a "Sputnik moment" that should spur the United States to ramp up investment in clean energy, despite a shift in Washington on climate change.
Energy Secretary Steven Chu likened a series of Chinese milestones -- including the development of the world's fastest supercomputer -- to the Soviet Union's landmark 1957 satellite that led the United States into the Space Race.
"America, I am optimistic, will wake up and see the opportunity. And when it does, it still has the greatest innovation machine in the world," Chu said in a speech entitled "Our New Sputnik Moment."
Chu said the United States still concentrated on research in areas such as computers, defense and pharmaceuticals but that its funding for energy innovation was paltry.
By contrast, China, the world's largest emitter of carbon blamed for global warming, is working to build the world's most expansive high-speed rail network and has developed technology for the highest-efficiency coal plants.
"America still has the opportunity to lead in a world that will need essentially a new industrial revolution to give us the energy we want inexpensively but carbon-free," Chu said.
"But I think time is running out," said Chu, a Nobel Prize-winning physicist... http://news.yahoo.com/s/afp/20101130/sc_afp/unclimatewarminguschina