The National Research Council released a new report in December calling for the development of an Abrupt Change Early Warning System (ACEWS), adding to the growing list of energy and climate policies the world needs to rapidly adopt. Scientists believe that with additional monitoring and observation sites, society can be warned of abrupt changes in the environment, allowing them to better prepare and reduce the associated impacts. However, Congress has decreased funding to one of the major earth observation systems, in a time when much more data is needed to detect abrupt climate changes, not less.
Energy & Climate
Overhaul the Energy Tax-Credit System
Writing in The Hill, ITIF Senior Analyst Matthew Stepp argues that clean energy tax credits, such as the recently expired Production Tax Credit for wind power, no longer supports breakthrough innovation; rather it greatly supports the deployment of existing designs. In its place, Congress should create an Energy Innovation and Manufacturing Tax Credit that provides limited, early-stage deployment support for emerging technologies.
60 Minutes’ of Epic Fail and the Real Energy Policy Debates CBS Missed
The 60 Minutes segment on the “Clean Energy Crash” ignores serious clean tech policy debates that are worth taking a deeper dive into. For starters, the United States is truly in the middle of a clean tech crash, just not the kind CBS is trying to advance. The U.S. clean energy innovation budget — the public investments in RD&D and smart deployment — has fallen 28 percent since the 2009-10 Stimulus Act. Federal clean energy research has dropped from $7.9 billion in 2010 to $5.6 billion today. Investments pegged for demonstration projects have dropped by an incredible 97 percent since the Stimulus. And many in Congress want to continue this trend with even deeper cuts.
Innovation, Technology Transfer & Commercialization
Companies, states and federal agencies are making stronger efforts to move their inventions and innovations out of research labs to the marketplace. Matthew Stepp participated in this panel discussion, sponsored by the National Governor’s Association, which highlighted some recent examples of these efforts, focusing on the lessons learned for other states to consider.
The Logic Chain to an Effective Global Clean Energy Policy
Addressing global climate change requires clean energy technologies that are cost and performance-competitive with fossil fuels without subsidies. Yet, the dominant energy policy approaches in the United States and internationally, characterized by carbon prices, subsidies, and mandates, do the opposite. Only a cohesive and aggressive energy innovation strategy can develop and deploy affordable clean energy options the entire world wants to purchase and use. In nine steps, ITIF explains the logic behind the essential connection between the global climate challenge and the need for aggressive policies to support innovation at the federal and international levels. The report also recommends several policy suggestions to support such an innovation strategy.