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In lieu of international carbon targets, countries should agree to meet gradually increasing government clean energy RD&D investment intensity (RD&D/GDP) targets.

As an alternative to carbon targets, let’s create government clean energy RD&D (research, development, and demonstration)investment intensity targets that countries can sign up for in lieu of agreeing to cap carbon emissions. In doing so, world leaders would effectively boost investments in the front-end of clean energy innovation—an area of significant concern and underfunding—thus spurring the development of the very technologies all countries, rich and poor, need to drastically reduce emissions without ongoing expensive subsidies.