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How to Lose the Clean Energy Race, Visualized

Thirty years ago, the U.S. was a world leader in clean energy investment and innovation. Today, we're losing the race. These charts show how badly.

Third Way, the "leading moderate think tank of the progressive movement," has released a bunch of interesting clean energy-related graphics over the past month or so. They've been piling up in my tabs, and they're probably best digested together. So take a look.

All graphics are from the Third Way report, Creating a Clean Energy Century. Click on the photos to see them in the Third Way flickr lightbox.

Betting On Clean Energy:

Notice that of the $21.1 billion of U.S. investment, only $2.5 billion is public money. And, as the Third Way caption notes, while "our investment has actually declined in recent years, China is going 'all-in.'"

Top Countries in Clean Energy Investment:

The United States ranks seventh in terms of clean energy investment as a percentage of GDP. Again, China is eating our lunch.

U.S. DOE Energy Research and Development Spending

Spending on efficiency is lower than it was 30 years ago, and we're spending less than a third on "renewable" energy R and D than we were then.

R and D Spending in Energy, Health, and Defense

Perhaps the most appalling chart of them all. For the past twenty years, our spending on defense and health research and development have ballooned, yet energy—in all its forms—has, well, you can see for yourself. We just don't care about energy innovation as much as we do about beefing up our defense systems to (at least in part) protect those cherished, dwindling pockets of fossil fuels in volatile areas around the world.

The whole Third Way report is well worth checking out.

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