Last week, students from across China came together in Shanghai for the International Youth Summit on Climate Change. One of the topics at the summit: the Great Power Race, our growing student clean energy competition. (The photos in this post are of some of our lead GPR organizers at the US and Indian buildings for the Shanghai World Expo).

There’s been a lot of news lately about China’s investments in clean energy. Late last week, Chinese officials announced that they would institute a carbon trading program as part of its 12th five-year plan which will begin in 2011. You can read more about the announcement here. China is clearly already moving down the track towards a clean energy future.

In contrast, the US Senate seems to be walking away from the track altogether. On Thursday, Senate majority leader Harry Reid announced that he wouldn’t put forward a comprehensive climate bill this year.

There’s still a chance that Congress could take some small steps forward. Most important, would be passing a strong Renewable Energy Standard. Today, 27 senators wrote a letter in support of the measure, which would could create 274,000 jobs in the US. In their letter, they wrote: “We urge you to ensure that we give our country the opportunity to win the clean energy race by including the Renewable Energy Standard in energy legislation that is considered this summer.”

At least some people in the US government are getting the message.

India also made an exciting announcement today. Just a matter of weeks after we launched the PutSolarOn.It campaign, President Patil of India announced that the President's estate, Rasthrapati Bhavan, is now a certified green building, including the installation of solar power. Now that’s getting to work!

With over 500 campuses now registered for the Great Power Race, it looks like the race for clean energy is heating up around the world. Can we get to 1,000 registered campuses by September 1st? It’s going to be a challenge, but that’s what this Race is all about. Together, we can show our political leaders that you don’t walk away from tough challenges like climate change. You take a deep breath, stretch your legs, and start running towards them.