Green wars

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It might come as a surprise to hear that The 40th World Economic Forum, that jamboree for the great and the good that takes place each year at Davos in Switzerland, has just concluded.

Normally, it merits acres of press coverage but this year it seems to have been driven off the front pages – largely by the earthquake in Haiti.

The communiqué at the end of the meeting talks about participants pledging to “rethink, rebuild and redesign the global economy based on sustainable principles”.

But that rather cosy formulation hides a rather harsher reality that will inevitably have an impact on global supply chains – an emerging race between the United States and China for dominance in the development of cleaner and greener technologies. 

According to “The New York Times”: “Concern that China may be edging ahead in potentially lucrative growth sectors like renewable energy was palpable here (Davos), where senior officials from the United States and Europe warned that the West could not afford to be complacent.”

Green technology is increasingly being seen as the “next industrial revolution” and estimates are being bandied about of some twenty million jobs being dependent on it by 2030. And the suggestion is that the emerging economies, without legacy of old technologies, will be in pole position to exploit this.

All the signs are that as the world economy moves out of recession, the process of globalisation will resume with a vengeance.

There will inevitably be implications in this process for supply chains – not least the danger of being caught up in the struggle for ascendancy between Washington and Beijing.

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