Last year when I attended the RMI 2009 conference in San Francisco, one of things I learned was that Amory Lovin's message about energy efficiency and the need for aggressive development of sustainable energy solutions was picked up by the very top leaders within China as a national imperative. Today, it is clear that China has embraced this message and is rapidly becoming the world's leader in green investment.
Meanwhile in the US, we have a fruitless argument with the denialists that nothing should be done because an international cabal of climate scientists are trying to destroy "our freedoms." No wonder the Chinese are racing ahead. For everyone of those Tea Partiers that are so worried about government debt, ignoring our global competitiveness on energy is guaranteeing our descendants a significantly bleaker future than any deficit spending we do to restore our economy. In fact, spending on developing cleaner, more efficient energy today would really help future Americans, and far outweighs the cost of investing in this area today.
Perhaps if we frame the problem as we're losing out to the Chinese, we'll actually do something? After all, it worked to revitalize our investment in science (both research and for public education) when we thought the Russians were racing ahead of us in the 60s.