BRIMCS Countries Outspend Rich Countries in Energy Research & Development

energy r&d brimcs image

Date: Kempener & al.
BRIMCS = Brazil, Russia, Mexico, China, and South Africa
A lot of very smart people have been saying for a very long time that rich countries (see the IEA members here), and especially the U.S., aren't investing enough in energy R&D.; That's sad, because energy is so central to almost everything in modern society, including our environmental problems, that without some real acceleration of progress the road ahead can only be pretty bumpy.
suntech power solar panels photo

Photo: Suntech Power

Another reminder of this lag comes form a paper by a team of Harvard Kennedy School researchers led by Ruud Kempener. They found that "six key developing countries--Brazil, Russia, India, Mexico, China, and South Africa, known as the BRIMCS countries--spent more on energy technology research, development, and demonstration in 2008 than the governments of the world's two dozen richest countries, combined. [...] total national and regional government investments in IEA countries were $12.7 billion dollars. [...] a minimum of $13.8 billion was invested by central governments and 100% government-owned enterprises in energy RD&D; in the BRIMCS countries." This is especially true for China, as you can see in the graph above.

Of course, technologies developed in emerging economies can still be used in rich countries, so nothing's lost (this isn't zero-sum game), but we'd get there faster if everybody was working harder.

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