U.S. Leads World in Clean Tech Innovation, Investment & Electric Vehicles, Earns Poor Marks for High Energy Consumption & Emissions

New Report Ranks Countries by Energy, Economy and GHG Emissions

Report charts historic worldwide shift from fossil fuels to renewable energy

May 18, 2015, 08:00 ET from Next 10

SAN FRANCISCO, May 18, 2015 /PRNewswire/ -- In advance of the historic United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP21) in Paris this year, a new report for the first time analyzes and ranks the economic and energy performance of the world's 50 largest greenhouse gas emitting nations.

Next 10's Green Innovation Index, International Edition charts country GDP, emissions, energy productivity, renewable energy generation, clean tech investments and other key metrics. The United States ranks as among the world's top countries in clean tech investments, patents, renewable energy generation and electric vehicle (EV) adoption. At the same time it is among the world's worst for energy consumption and emissions. Over the last two decades, however, the U.S. has become more energy productive, using less energy per dollar of GDP generated.

"Some of the world's largest economies are now decoupling economic growth and energy use, actually growing their GDPs 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 downtown," said F. Noel Perry, businessman and founder of the nonpartisan nonprofit group Next 10 (www.Next10.org).

In observance of Climate Week Paris and on the eve of the Business & Climate Summit at UNESCO headquarters, Perry will present the new report findings Tuesday to an international audience including business and government leaders and journalists at a reception at the Hotel de Talleyrand in Paris.

Report highlights about the U.S. include:

  • #1 in clean technology innovation, most private investment with $8.2 billion in venture capital (2014) and the most patents (19,000 in 2014) worldwide. U.S. clean tech investment rose 74 percent from 2013-2014.
  • #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.
  • Among highest (#44) in total energy use per capita, though the U.S. (with California) improved with a 10.4 percent decrease (1990-2012).
  • #1 in EV sales (2014), with more than one-third of global sales.
  • U.S. average monthly residential electricity bill did not increase, while industrial bills fell 34 percent and commercial bills fell 2 percent (1993-2013)
  • U.S. (with California) energy use per capita fell 10.4 percent (1990-2012), while electricity use per capita rose 8 percent.
  • With 4.5 percent of the world's population, the U.S. follows only China (19.4 percent of world's population) in total GHG emissions from energy consumption.
  • U.S. (with California) 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 Green Innovation Index, International Edition 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 U.S. 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).
  • U.S. (with California), California, EU, China, UK, Singapore, France, Canada, India and Israel (in order) are top ten in clean tech venture capital (2014).
  • Nigeria has the lowest emissions per capita, and the highest energy productivity.
  • California cut electricity use per capita by 4 percent while U.S. increased 8 percent and EU increased 17 percent (1990-2012).

This week marks the kick off of Climate Week in Paris—a historic gathering of worldwide business and policy leaders. Through events like the Business & Climate Summit at the UNESCO offices in Paris, leaders will highlight business and policy solutions for decarbonizing the economy. These events come in the wake of the International Energy Agency's announcement suggesting that the process of decoupling economic growth from GHG emissions is already underway, since the global economy grew in 2014 but carbon emissions did not. The Business & Climate Summit is one of a string of international events building momentum towards a climate agreement at a key UN Climate Summit to be held later this year, also in Paris.

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About Next 10
Next 10 is an independent, nonpartisan organization that educates, engages and empowers Californians to improve the state's future. With a focus on the intersection between the economy, the environment, and quality of life, Next 10 employs research from leading experts on complex state issues and creates a portfolio of nonpartisan educational materials to foster a deeper understanding of the critical issues affecting our state.

About Collaborative Economics,
Collaborative Economics (www.coecon.com), which developed the Green Innovation Index, is a Silicon Valley-based research and consulting organization. CoEcon works with businesses, foundations, government, education, and community sectors to do leading edge innovation and clean economy analysis for states and regions across the country.

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