COP26 Should Make the 2020s a Decade of Clean Energy Innovation, Says ITIF. Climate Change Needs Rapid, Creative, Ambitious Solutions

October 29, 2021

WASHINGTON—As national leaders convene in Glasgow for the 26th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP 26), the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), the leading think tank for science and technology policy, released the following statement from David Hart, the ITIF’s director of the Center for Clean Energy Innovation:

Climate change is already damaging communities and natural ecosystems worldwide, and the damage will get worse until net greenhouse gas emissions are reduced dramatically. But until unsubsidized clean energy is as affordable, reliable, and plentiful as energy from unabated fossil fuels, global reductions on the necessary scale will not be achievable. Innovation—the creation and diffusion of new and improved technologies, business models, and institutions—is the only way to provide growing energy services for the planet while averting the worst consequences of climate change.

National governments are the most important contributors to energy innovation. No global entity has the resources to fund it at the requisite scale. And, absent government action, the private sector lacks incentives to do so. Yet, the collective effort by the Parties gathering in Glasgow to accelerate innovation has been dismal. ITIF’s Global Energy Innovation Index shows that since the signing of the Paris agreement in 2015, public investment in clean energy research and development has been flat relative to GDP! Many other indicators show a similar lack of action.

ITIF calls on the Glasgow conference to endorse ambitious plans to make the 2020s a decade of clean energy innovation, so that new solutions for sources of emissions that are difficult or impossible to abate today are ready for worldwide deployment in the 2030s and 2040s. Even more important, when COP 26 delegates return home, they must back their promises with investments and other actions. Talk is cheap; making innovation happen is hard. But only action—rapid, creative, and ambitious action—will yield results that actually matter for the climate.

For more on this issue, please see:

Twitter Image: 
COP26 Should Make the 2020s a  Decade of Clean Energy Innovation, Says ITIF.  Climate Change Needs Rapid, Creative, Ambitious Solutions