Friedman: China May Beat Us in Green Race

Country's dire, polluted situation is forcing it to innovate
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 5, 2009 10:49 AM CDT
A Chinese demonstrator wears a face mask along side other demonstrators, as she protests against bad air quality.   (AP Photo/Elizabeth Dalziel)
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(Newser) – How do you say “clean your clock” in Chinese? asks Thomas Friedman in the New York Times. Americans may soon find out, because China could outmaneuver us in the next great global industry: clean power technologies, warns Friedman. China’s been forced to go green in a hurry because often, “its people can’t breathe, fish, swim, drive, or even see because of pollution and climate change.”

China is “innovating more and more energy efficiency and clean power systems,” and when it really gets serious, “watch out,” says Friedman, urging President Obama to act simultaneously on climate change and health care reform: “We need both now.” If the US doesn't lead the way on energy technology, “there is no way we are going to be able to afford decent health care for every American. No way.”