Colin Cunliff

Colin Cunliff
Senior Policy Analyst
Information Technology and Innovation Foundation

Colin Cunliff is a senior policy analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. He focuses on clean energy innovation. He previously worked at the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) Office of Energy Policy and Systems Analysis as a AAAS Science & Technology Policy Fellow, with a portfolio focused on energy sector resilience and emissions mitigation. Prior to that, he was the American Institute of Physics / American Association for the Advancement of Science (AIP/AAAS) Congressional Fellow in the office of Senator Dianne Feinstein, where he served as a staff science adviser on energy, climate and transportation. He holds a Ph.D. in physics from the University of California, Davis, and a bachelors degree in physics and mathematics from the University of Texas in Austin.

Research Areas:

Recent Publications

July 6, 2020

Alarmists claim the tech sector’s carbon footprint is mushrooming out of control. But they wildly misrepresent the facts. Not only is the ICT sector making significant progress in decarbonizing, but ICT is also a powerful technology that enables other sectors to become more energy efficient.

March 30, 2020

Lawmakers should make energy innovation a national imperative, and at least double U.S. investment in clean energy RD&D by 2025.

March 2, 2020

Unless Congress takes specific action to reverse the administration’s plans, the president’s budget request will become binding on federal energy RD&D programs, eliminating vital activities.

February 14, 2020

Congress has soundly rejected the administration’s previous budget proposals in this area, instead putting forward a positive vision for U.S. innovation that invests in a future of clean, reliable, low-cost energy. Lawmakers should do so again in fiscal year 2021.

January 21, 2020

As the House and Senate consider comprehensive energy legislation, these 10 priorities have already won the support of large bipartisan majorities at the committee level in at least one chamber. They should form the nucleus of a bipartisan energy package that gets signed into law this year.

November 11, 2019

Clean energy innovation has bipartisan public support and has successfully expand the use of solar and wind power. As Colin Cunliff writes in for Issues in Science and Technology, it’s now time for policymakers to expand the clean energy portfolio to address gaps in the current innovation agenda.

October 28, 2019

Growing animus toward “Big Tech” companies and generalized opposition to technological innovation engenders support for policies that are expressly designed to inhibit it. That is deeply problematic for future progress, prosperity, and competitiveness.

September 23, 2019

Despite concern over climate change, global carbon emissions continue to rise. Clean energy innovation is needed to reverse the trend. It is time for Mission Innovation member nations to make good on their commitment to double clean energy RD&D.

September 3, 2019

This briefing provides an update on energy research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) in the federal fiscal year (FY) 2020 appropriations process, building on ITIF’s summary of the administration’s budget request.

August 26, 2019

Since 2015, 24 nations and the EU have joined “Mission Innovation,” pledging to double public investments in energy RD&D and collaborate on key innovation challenges. This report seeks to provide accountability for these commitments and lay the foundation for more ambitious measures.

April 2, 2019

The Trump administration has once again proposed massive cuts to energy RD&D. Lawmakers should not give this year’s budget proposal any greater credence than they have given the last two. Congress should instead continue down the path of elevating innovation in clean energy as a national priority.

March 11, 2019

DOE’s clean energy RD&D portfolio is essential to the U.S. energy innovation ecosystem. Instead of slashing it, as the administration has proposed, Congress should elevate energy innovation as a national priority and continue to expand it.

Recent Events and Presentations

July 9, 2020

ITIF hosted a discussion with industry leaders on the role of digitalization in driving energy efficiency gains across the economy, and the release of a new ITIF report assessing the concerns—some legitimate and most not—regarding the energy and environmental impacts of the tech sector.

March 5, 2020

ITIF and the Aspen Institute hosted the Washington, DC release of the Innovation for a Cool Earth Forum’s (ICEF’s) Industrial Heat Decarbonization Roadmap and convened an expert panel exploring the challenges of industrial heat decarbonization.

May 13, 2019

Sustained innovation in clean industrial processes is necessary to avert the worst consequences of climate change, better serve the diverse demands of the American public and enhance U.S. economic competitiveness and national security. The federal government plays a key role in fostering innovation and encouraging cleantech entrepreneurship and investment.

April 18, 2019

Sustained innovation in energy technologies is necessary to avert the worst consequences of climate change, better serve the diverse demands of the American public and enhance U.S.

November 28, 2018

Even with continued improvements and cost reductions to current emissions reducing technologies, the world is not on track to achieve the deep reductions in greenhouse gas emissions necessary to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Join ITIF for the release of a new report analyzing hard-to-decarbonize sectors and an expert panel discussion on the limits of current technologies and potential solutions.