UK risks losing ground with pale green budget

So at first glance, this week's budget isn't too bad for the environment, right?

There's a pot of cash to invest in clean tech - and that has a nice ring to it if you call it a Green Investment Bank rather than a bit of funding.

The trouble is, is it's not that much money, in the grand scheme of things - and the UK is already going for it when it comes to clean tech, and punching well above its weight.

I saw this week on that the BBC reported that the UK was the third biggest investor in clean tech in 2009.

That's a pretty good stat, all things considered - the US has a population almost five times that of the UK, while the Chinese population dwarves ours - there are 22 Chinese people for every Briton.

Similar story if you look at the ratio in terms of GDP - China makes four times the amount of money than we do in the UK, while the USA makes almost seven times as much.

A bit of statistical manipulation, then, suggests that the UK is the biggest backer of clean tech in the world, if you look at it in terms of population or wealth.

For those of you who like number crunching, here's a few figures.

China $34.6bn invested in clean tech in 2009; 1,338m people; $8.8tr GDP
USA $18.6bn invested in clean tech in 2009; 307m people; $14.6tr GDP
UK $11.2bn invested in clean tech in 2009; 60m people; $2.2tr GDP

Or, to look at that another way:
Amount invested in clean tech per person: UK $186; USA $61; China $26
Share of GDP invested in clean tech: UK 0.5%; China 0.39%; USA 0.12%

So, the UK obviously puts a value on clean tech - but due to its relative size is likely to eventually lose the race to be the world leader in this sector to the economic giants in any case.

Nevertheless, it's got to be worth delaying the inevitable, and staying up at the front of the pack in any case.

There's a growing recognition that this sector has the potential to grow at a phenomenal rate - like the telecommunications and IT sectors before it - and being at the cutting edge has got to reap rewards in the long run.

Sam Bond

Topics: edie
Tags: bank | green investment bank | population
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