Energy & Climate

Energy-related issues.

The UN should discourage green mercantilism in international climate negotiations.

The UN should work to facilitate negotiations through the UNFCCC process on an international climate agreement that doesn’t include compulsory licensing or assume clean energy falls under the Doha Declaration of the TRIPS agreement, as it pertains to addressing climate change.

The UN should encourage smart deployment through leapfrogging for energy access.

For the past few years the UN and other development organizations have supported “technology leapfrogging” for small devices like solar lamps and clean cookstoves. These technologies, while largely unnecessary in high-income countries, address important and specific needs in low-energy-access countries, but still don’t provide high-energy access. The UN should expand this leapfrogging approach with a more ambitious program for deploying larger clean energy systems in situations and regions where clean energy is cheaper than fossil fuels.

The Clean Technology Fund should be redesigned to focus on testing and demonstration.

The Clean Technology Fund should be redesigned to represent the premier “clean energy innovation” financial mechanism for low-income and emerging countries to coordinate the testing and demonstration of advanced clean energy technologies.

The World Bank should finance smart deployment in low-income countries.

The World Bank should prioritize innovation in its energy investment portfolio by supporting the demonstration and deployment of emerging, rather than just existing, technologies to drive innovation. The Bank should execute such an institutional change by using IBRD policy loans to support the implementation of clean energy innovation policy strategies in lower-middle income and emerging countries, moving beyond carbon prices, targets, and subsidies.

High-income countries should reform existing subsidies into “smart deployment” policies that provide subsidies contingent on continued cost and technology improvement.

Countries should support smart clean energy deployment by implementing performance-based subsidies or incentives that steadily decrease over time, requiring technologies to compete on technological merit and innovation, not government largesse.

Countries should step-up enforcement of existing trade agreements related to clean energy.

While new trade agreements for clean energy are needed, enforcing existing free trade agreements within the WTO framework is critical to combating rampant green mercantilism. For the United States this means increasing funds for the U.S. Trade Representative to expand capabilities to focus on unfair clean tech trade practices. For other free-trade based countries this means making it a national policy to bring cases to the WTO whenever free trade violations are made and even if the clean energy industry doesn’t initiate the case. In the short term, countries should combat green mercantilism with tariffs on mercantilists’ products.

Want More Stringent EPA Carbon Caps? We Need Innovation Policy

June 18, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

While the tougher emissions regulations recently implemented by the EPA will incent some additional clean energy development, long term transition away from fossil fuels will not be possible unless clean energy becomes cheaper than fossil fuels. The most effective way to accomplish this is through a comprehensive innovation strategy marked by enhanced investment in clean energy research, development and demonstration.

Carbon Pricing Won't Solve Climate Change. Innovation Will.

June 13, 2014
| Blogs & Op-eds

Putting a price on carbon to combat climate change is not a viable solution by itself because no one wants to pay higher costs for energy. Instead governments should enhance funding for R&D and demonstration projects—such as through international targets for clean energy RD&D—that lower clean energy costs.

Barriers to U.S. Global Clean Energy Leadership

June 12, 2014
| Testimony and Filings

Matthew Stepp testifies before the United States House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources. Stepp focuses on the potential benefits of and barriers to the United States becoming a global leader in innovative clean energy technologies.

Oversight Hearing on "American Energy Jobs: Opportunities for Innovation"

June 12, 2014
Matthew Stepp testified before the United States House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.

Matthew Stepp testified before the United States House Natural Resources Committee Subcommittee on Energy and Mineral Resources.