How We Gain From China’s Advances

Matthew E. Kahn is a professor of economics at UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability. He is the author of "Climatopolis: How Our Cities Will Thrive in the Hotter World."

"The United States will gain from the green tech push taking place in China. Because of specialization and learning-by-doing, the cost of producing solar panels and wind turbines will decline. This is very good news for all sorts of firms ranging from Wal-Mart to Google to the defense department. Each of these “non-green” entities will be increasingly likely to be able to “go off the grid” thanks in large part to China’s investments. In this sense, the United States will experience a “greening” of our industries because we are a net importer of China’s renewables technology exports."

He continued, "In 2011, our green tech comparative advantage rests with our leading universities. The nerds at our universities know that if they discover a game-changing breakthrough their idea can be mass produced in China. China knows that U.S universities are likely to continue to come up with great ideas and thus it makes sense to have the nimble factories and workers ready to go."

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