U.S. And China Investing In Each Other's Clean Energy Tech13:56
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In this November 2010 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, workers check on solar panels in Yulin, northwest China's Shaanxi Province. (Liu Xiao/Xinhua/AP)
In this November 2010 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, workers check on solar panels in Yulin, northwest China's Shaanxi Province. (Liu Xiao/Xinhua/AP)

The political rhetoric from Beijing and from Washington is about a war over leadership in renewable energy.

Energy expert Jeffrey Ball is pictured in China.
Energy expert Jeffrey Ball is pictured in China.

In his inaugural address this week, President Barack Obama said, "we cannot cede to other nations the technology that will power new jobs and new industries - we must claim its promise."

But energy expert Jeffrey Ball says behind that war of words, U.S. and Chinese investors are actually rushing to make deals and invest in each other's firms.

Ball says it's a sign that renewable energy is coming of age.

Global investment in renewable energy has surged over the last 10 years. More than $250 billion was invested in 2011 - six times the total investment of 2004.

Ball says the industry is now at a point where it's possible to begin thinking seriously about scaling up to the levels that would be needed to take renewable energy from a niche to a mainstream source of the world's energy needs.

Articles by Jeffrey Ball

Wall Street Journal: Beneath a War of Words, Money Paints a Different China-U.S. Picture
Foreign Affairs: Tough Love for Renewable Energy (free access until mid-March)
Slate: How To Make a Bundle on Energy Efficiency
Slate: Want Cleaner Coal? Go to China.

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This segment aired on January 25, 2013.

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