The issue of China's support for renewables has taken center stage in the United States, thanks to an investigation by the United States Trade Representative (USTR) that commenced in October 2010. That investigation began with a complaint alleging that China unfairly subsidizes its greentech industries, in violation of its obligations as a member of the World Trade Organization (WTO). Well before that investigation began, numerous Americans believed the United States was less engaged in greentech promotion than China. China has come very far in a short amount of time to promote renewables, and many feel the United States is falling behind. New York Times columnist Thomas L. Friedman has been perhaps the most active proponent of this view, but he has plenty of company (including President Obama, as shown by the quote above). In this article, I will use "greentech" to refer to renewable energy technologies such as solar and wind power (the subject of many articles), even though some commentators discuss other technologies such as hybrid and electric vehicles.

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