US Leads World In Clean Energy, Electric Vehicles, and High Energy Consumption

May 21, 2015

The US leads the world in investment in electric vehicles and clean energy

The US leads the world in investment in electric vehicles and clean energy

Next 10’s Green Innovation Index, International Edition for the first time analyzes and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world’s 50 largest greenhouse gas emitting nations. While the US ranks high in investment in clean energy and electric vehicle ownership, it also leads in having the highest energy consumption and emissions, but we are improving.

“Some of the world’s largest economies are now decoupling economic growth and energy use, actually growing their GDPs [gross domestic products] while shrinking their carbon footprints. Last year marked the first time we’ve been able to say conclusively that a drop in global carbon emissions was caused by something other than an economic down[turn],” said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10.

The report will be officially presented next week to an international audience including business and government leaders and journalists at a reception at the Hotel de Talleyrand in Paris, during Climate Week.

Here are some US-related highlights:

  • We are #1 in clean technology innovation, with the most private investment with $8.2 billion in venture capital (2014) and the most patents (19,000 in 2014) worldwide.
  • US clean tech investment rose 74 percent from 2013-2014.
  • We are #1 total GDP of any country (slightly less than EU combined), and 16th in carbon intensity (emissions per GDP).
  • #1 in total renewable electricity generation of any single country (behind EU combined).
  • #15 in total share of electricity from renewable sources.
  • We are among the highest (#44) in total energy use per capita, though we improved with a 10.4 percent decrease (1990-2012).
  • #1 in EV (electric vehicle) sales (2014), with more than one-third of global sales.
  • US average monthly residential electricity bill did not increase, while industrial bills fell 34 percent and commercial bills fell 2 percent (1993-2013).
  • With 4.5 percent of the world’s population, the US follows only China (19.4 percent of world’s population) in total GHG (green house gas) emissions from energy consumption.
  • The US cut GHG emissions per capita by 17 percent while GDP per capita grew 37 percent (1990-2012), whereas China increased emissions by 222 percent and GDP per capita grew 604 percent.

“This year’s Green Innovation Index, International Edition tracks a clear shift to clean energy around the world. Although fossil fuels still represent a significant portion of our overall energy use, many analysts believe we have reached an important tipping point—globally, we are now adding more capacity for renewable power annually than fossil fuels,” said Doug Henton, chairman and CEO of Collaborative Economics, which developed the Index for Next 10.

The report shows how this transition is playing out for the world’s top 50 emitters of greenhouse gases. Among these nations, plus California:

  • Spain, Germany, Italy, California, Philippines, EU, Belgium, Netherlands, UK and Greece have the greatest share of electricity from renewable sources (in order).
  • France leads the world in lowest carbon intensity (of top 50 emitters); Uzbekistan is highest (GHG per GDP).
  • After the US and EU, Japan, South Korea, Germany, and California lead the world in clean tech patents. EU follows the U.S. in clean tech patents (11,330 v. 18,937 in 2014), and clean tech venture capital ($1.028 billion v. $8.208 billion in 2014).
  • The US (with California), California, EU, China, UK, Singapore, France, Canada, India and Israel (in order) are the top ten in clean tech venture capital (2014).

This week marks the kick off of Climate Week in Paris—a historic gathering of worldwide business and policy leaders that will highlight business and policy solutions for decarbonizing the economy.

Source and Photo: PR Newswire, Justin Pickard through a Creative Commons License




Dawn Killough

has over 15 years experience in the construction industry and is the author of Green Building Design 101, an e-book available from Amazon. She is a LEED AP and Certified Green Building Advisor, and has worked on the LEED Certification of three projects in Salem, Oregon.