The Ecological Opportunity
Edited by Blandine Laperche, Nadine Levratto and Dimitri Uzunidis
Chapter 1: The Clean-tech Revolution in California and in France: Opportunities and Challenges
Anne Sengès INTRODUCTION It is fair to assume that in the near future, textbooks will devote space to 2008, the year of the worst financial crisis since the great depression, caused by the bursting of the subprime mortgage bubble in the United States (US). The near collapse of the financial system prompted the federal government to come to the rescue of financial institutions deemed too big too fail. The year 2008 also witnessed an oil shock. ‘As gasoline prices climb beyond $4 a gallon, Americans are rethinking what they drive and how and where they live. Entire industries are reeling – airlines and automakers most prominent among them – and gas prices have emerged as an important issue in the presidential campaign’, warned a New York Times article on 3 July, 2008 (Schwartz, 2008), as oil prices rose above $145 a barrel. Sport utility vehicle (SUV) sales plummeted across the country. That year also saw the collapse of the automotive industry in the US, followed by a government bailout of the fig three automakers (Ford, GM, and Chrysler). Commentators across the country and abroad proclaimed the end of the US brand of laissez-faire capitalism. In November 2008, Barack Obama made history by becoming the first African-American president. His election and his motto (Yes We Can) seemed to lift America’s spirit as Obama promised change. In an interview with Time magazine shortly before the presidential election, candidate Obama had stated that one of his top priorities was to build a new energy...
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