US: China rise a 'Sputnik moment' for clean energy

08:31, December 01, 2010      

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US Energy Secretary Steven Chu called China's growing innovation a "Sputnik moment" that should spur the United States to ramp up investment in clean energy.

Chu likened a series of Chinese milestones -- including the development of the world's fastest supercomputer -- to the former Soviet Union's landmark 1957 satellite launch that led the United States into the Space Race, the AFP reported Tuesday.

"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 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.

Two recent studies found that China's investment in green technology has outpaced that of the United States.

People's Daily Online / Agencies

(Editor:梁军)

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