November 18, 2009
Converging on National Energy Innovation Policy
Eight universities and think tanks have all converged on four policy principles to enhance technology innovation in the effort to mitigate climate change, says a new report released earlier this week by the Clean Air Task Force and the Consortium for Science, Policy, and Outcomes (CSPO) at Arizona State University.
The report, "Four Policy Principles for Energy Innovation & Climate Change: A Synthesis" (PDF) combined the recommendations made in eight studies conducted by universities like Harvard and MIT as well as think tanks like the Brookings Institution and the National Commission on Energy Policy to create the following four policy principles:
1. Recognize that innovation policy is more than R&D policy
2. Pursue multiple innovation pathways
3. Recognize CO2 reduction as a public good, and pursue energy innovation through a public works model.
4. Encourage collaboration on energy innovation with rapidly industrializing countries.
Daniel Sarewitz, CSPO co-director and Breakthrough Senior Fellow, commented on the report:
Despite the independence of the teams, we found remarkable convergence on some very basic principles that should guide the design of workable, comprehensive clean energy innovation policies. Key among them is that we are going to have to deploy lots of real stuff at a large scale in the field - and not just in the lab - to innovate our way toward a solution. That's not going to be cheap, but it is going to be worth it. We need to start yesterday.
The report is one of four reports released this month calling for a strengthened, robust commitment to U.S. clean tech innovation policy. The Breakthrough Institute co-released two of those reports -- one arguing that Congress must support legislation to improve U.S. clean tech competitiveness and the other demonstrating that the Kerry-Lieberman American Power Act would increase energy R&D funding by as little as $2.2 billion per year. The third, a report released by the new American Energy Innovation Council, called for a tripling of public investment in clean energy R&D.