The Breakthrough Institute's new report details specific policies to drive real and disruptive technological transitions that build and lock in lower-carbon energy, transportation, and agricultural systems.
OAKLAND, Calif. — A new report by the Breakthrough Institute articulates a clear vision for how Congress can tackle climate change with specific policy goals achievable in a gridlocked and partisan Washington, D.C.
In December 2020, Congress passed, and the President signed, the $1.4 trillion fiscal 2021 appropriations bill — which earmarked substantial funding for clean energy R&D. This bill’s passage during a moment of historic partisan conflict is a potent signal of the virtue of what Breakthrough Institute has dubbed “quiet climate policy” — namely, its potential to simultaneously reduce the political polarization of climate change and advance critical efforts to decarbonize the US economy.
“With the Covid pandemic still raging and policymakers seemingly prepared to spend unprecedented public funds on recovery and relief, the coming months and years might offer the best opportunity to accelerate innovation and investment in low-carbon infrastructure in a generation,” said Alex Trembath, Deputy Director at the Breakthrough Institute. “Policymakers can learn from the success of solar, wind, and fracking by supercharging federal investment in new technologies that retain broad support across industry and partisan lines.”
Historically, the US government has accelerated decarbonization through strategic investments in technology and infrastructure. Decarbonization of the American economy has depended upon the increasing affordability and scalability of low-carbon technologies enabled by decades of sustained, technology-specific research, development, demonstration, and deployment efforts made by the federal and state governments.
Like the popular, enduring policy regimes that have driven innovation in low-carbon technologies for decades, the policies and investments the Breakthrough Institute proposes to have the potential to drive real and disruptive technological transitions that build and lock in lower-carbon energy, transportation, and agricultural systems.
Quiet Climate Policy key highlights include:
- Energy Innovation - Invest approx. $68 billion - Gain 600,000+ jobs
- Grid Modernization - Invest $80 billion - Gain 1.5 million jobs
- Energy Efficiency - Invest $1.4 billion - Gain 28,000 jobs
- Clean Energy Subsidy Reform - Invest $55.5 billion - Gain 700,000 jobs
- EV Charging Infrastructure - Invest $4.9 billion - Gain 65,000 jobs
- Reinvest in Ports and Airports - Invest $20.62 billion - Gain 113,000 jobs
- Agricultural Innovation - Invest approx. $10 billion - Gain 150,000+ jobs
- Agricultural Conservation Programs - Invest $6.35 billion - Gain 98,000 jobs
- Sustainable US Dairy Sector - Invest approx. $768 million per year - Save up to 50,000 jobs per year - Gain 1,000 permanent and temporary jobs per year
Sean Trambley, Director of Communications