WASHINGTON—Following President Biden’s expected introduction of the administration’s proposal to make major investments in innovation to fight climate change, the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from ITIF Senior Fellow David M. Hart, director of ITIF’s clean energy innovation program:
This proposal marks an important step beyond the magical thinking that has long constrained U.S. climate policy. It recognizes we don’t yet have all the solutions we need to get to net-zero emissions. The investments that the administration is proposing will generate momentum toward producing the climate solutions we need, scaling them up to meet the global challenge, and capturing significant economic benefits for the nation.
The administration is proposing a major increase in federal support for clean energy R&D in the private sector, universities, and federal laboratories. That would move the United States toward a pathway to triple clean energy innovation investments by 2025, as ITIF has recommended, while leveraging federal purchasing power to make existing clean energy technologies more affordable and accessible and to deploy supporting infrastructure. It would also infuse much-needed funding for demonstration projects, including for industrial decarbonization, which is one of the weakest links in the U.S. innovation system.
ITIF Senior Policy Analyst Colin Cunliff added:
Good energy innovation policy provides both a push and a pull on new technologies to ensure they are developed and deployed with as few hiccups as possible. The administration’s package checks both boxes in key areas such as the electricity grid and transportation. It also seeks to ensure that Americans across the country and from all walks of life enjoy the benefits of climate innovations.
Congress should now move swiftly to act on the administration’s proposal. Strong bipartisan majorities have supported ramping up federal climate innovation investments over the last four years. A climate innovation package on the administration’s proposed scale and timeline, with appropriate adjustments to the portfolio and priorities, ought to win a similar level of support.
Climate change is already making the lives of Americans worse. The damage will compound until we take action to bring the full weight of American innovation to bear on the challenge. The president’s proposal would begin to do that.
For more on this issue, see:
- Varun Sivaram, et al., “Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission” (ITIF and the Center on Global Energy Policy at Columbia University’s School of International & Public Affairs, September 2020).
- Dorothy Robyn, “Driving Change: A Front-Loaded, Aggressive Strategy for Federal Procurement of Electric Vehicles,” ITIF Innovation Files, December 7, 2020
- Colin Cunliff, “Energy Innovation in the FY 2021 Budget: Congress Should Lead,” ITIF, March 30, 2020
- Colin Cunliff, “Testimony to the House Appropriations Committee on Strategies for Energy and Climate Innovation,” February 25, 2021.