Finnegan's Take

EU compares well with US rivals but the real competition is rising in the East

It’s ‘Greening Business Week‘ here at EurActiv HQ where we’re turing the spotlight on the new green economy.

There’ll be a new story every day this week, but today’s feature is worthy of comment.

Ask an EU official whether Europe is investing enough in greening the economy and the answer will include a comparison with the US. We’re spending around €90bn; they are spending ‘just’ $80bn. The EU has a much bigger population than the US, but let’s not waste time on trivial issues.

The real point here is that Europe’s tradition of looking West for comparisons with the US can allow us to believe that we are doing enough. But the new world order demands that we benchmark ourselves against the rising Asian powers.

And, in terms of splurging on their green stimulus plans, China, South Korea, Japan and Australia are setting the pace.

This comes on the day that a new report shows China has doubled its research output in just five years and has already overtaken the EU in terms of publishing scientific papers. It will leapfrog the US within a decade.

It’s time to accept that it’s no longer good enough to aspire to matching the US. If we really want to compete on the global scale, we need to look to the East.

Check out EurActiv throughout the week for stories on ‘eco-patents’, ‘green cars’, the use of PPPs in eco-innovation and an interview with a leading energy researcher.

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