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.
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.
More on Alternative Energy
Special Light-Absorbing Layer Makes Polymer Solar Cells 20% More Efficient
China's Largest Solar Panel Maker Expect Sales to Climb 20% in 2011
We Could Have 10 MW Wind Turbines by 2011 and 15 MW Turbines by 2020
U.S. Needs to Boost Spending for Energy R&D;, Panel Tells Obama
Some U.S. Utilities Starting to Replace Coal with Natural Gas
Steven Chu: China Giving U.S. a Clean Technology "Sputnik Moment"
iSuppli Forecasts 15.8GW of Solar PV in 2010, 19.3GW in 2011