You would think that a high profile international trade show with a name like “World Future Energy Summit” would be held deep in the heart of the U.S., given our long and influential track record of innovation. However, it’s not. The event is being held in the United Arab Emirates, deep in the heart of oil country. Which brings up the question, if other nations that are rich in fossil fuels are embracing a clean energy future as a matter of national policy, what is holding us back?
Future Energy and the U.S.
Though certain legislators in the U.S. Congress have been busy obstructing a national clean energy policy, President Obama has devoted a considerable amount of resources to pushing the nation forward and supporting clean tech companies, including a strong green jobs component in the Recovery Act, new funding for the ARPA-E research program, and a Rust Belt revival in new green manufacturing to dovetail with the introduction of electric vehicles.
Future Energy in Abu Dhabi
The guide for U.S. exhibitors at the World Future Energy Summit also includes a letter of support from President Obama, and to highlight the significance of the event for U.S. clean tech companies, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton visited Abu Dhabi and toured the sustainability research center Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The institute is partnered by MIT, and its building in Masdar City was designed to be fully powered by solar energy and use half the amount of potable water as conventional buildings of its type.
Fossil Fuel Business as Usual
In contrast to the efforts of President Obama to create new green jobs in the U.S. and new opportunities for U.S. clean tech companies overseas, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent a considerable amount of energy – and money – to foster a legislative framework that is unsupportive of new green technology.
Image: UAE export plate by woody1778a on flickr.com.
Tina Casey specializes in military and corporate sustainability, advanced technology, emerging materials, biofuels, and water and wastewater issues. Tina’s articles are reposted frequently on Reuters, Scientific American, and many other sites. You can also follow her on Twitter @TinaMCasey and Google+.