photo: Green Cross USA
In a move which seems a bit like talking to cattle ranchers about the need to cut down on beef consumption, Mikhail Gorbachev, founder of Green Cross International (among other things...), addressed the 33rd NRPA International Petrochemical Conference by urging world leaders and the private sector that the way out of the current economic morass and the way to combat climate change was to make big investments in solar power, and make them quickly:
The oil industry is a key stakeholder. Their commitment is essential to turn the tide against the massive accumulation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. This economic crisis must mark the beginning of a new sustainable development path that has been long overdue. Solar power needs big investments to expand and create significant effects. For the 2 billion people currently living without electricity, the sun is the best hope.
Gorbachev went on to cite the Global Solar Report Card, which analyzes the solar power potential of 16 nations, as well as grading how well they are doing so far. Here's a quick summary:
Germany & California Lead the Way, Everyone Else Plays Catch-Up
At the head of the global class is Germany, which received an A- in the report (despite receiving only 70 out of 100 points...), based upon leading the world in installed solar capacity and having good financial incentives for the expansion of solar power.
In (honorary) second place is the state of California with a B, helped in large part by its 10-year $3 billion rebate program for solar.
In the great middling ranks of the class, France, Italy, Spain, and the United States all got grades of C+. Though installed capacity in both Spain and the United States is comparatively robust, uncertainty surrounding policy support for solar held down grades. Italy and France on the other hand, while not having large amounts of solar power installed, have implemented good policy support for solar power growth.
Australia and Japan coasted through with a grade of C, in both cases because of changes in support policy for solar power.
Except for China, the UK, Russia & Poland, Who Aren't Even Attending Class
Nations which scored genuinely poorly were China and the United Kingdom (D-); China's low score resulted from largely unclear policy surrounding solar power (despite public commitments to it), while the UK was described as having "a very small market and no significant support for solar at this time."
Failing entirely were Russia and Poland who received their failing grades because they have no solar markets and no financial or policy mechanisms in place to capitalize on their solar power potential.
More: 2008 Global Solar Report Card (which has the full list of countries and a more detailed breakdown of how the grading was done) and Green Cross International
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