'Green China' Marks Sputnik of 21st Century
US ignores race for clean energy at its own peril: Friedman
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 27, 2009 11:55 AM CDT
A worker monitors the production line of solar panels at a factory of Astronergy, a China based solar panel maker, in Hangzhou, in eastern China's Zhejiang province Wednesday Aug. 26, 2009.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – For those who think the past year will be defined by global recession, Tom Friedman says think again. Rather, for the New York Times columnist it is Red China's decision "to become Green China" that will spur a 21st-century technological race for clean energy—in the same way that Russia's launch of Sputnik belatedly prodded the US into the space race.

Choking from its own development, China is going green out of necessity, writes Friedman. And "watch out"—if the US fails to respond as it did in the '50s and '60s, "you will buy your next electric car, solar panels, batteries, and energy-efficiency software from China. It is the Sputnik of our day. We ignore it at our peril."