Saturday, January 18, 2014

Despite Funding Boost, We’re Spending Too Little on Energy R&D – MIT Technology Review

Top 10 Countries in R&D Investment (Credit: Bloomberg New Energy Finance) Click to enlarge.
A leaked UN climate report suggests we’re spending far too little on clean energy.

Thursday, Congress passed a spending bill that will undo the damage done to energy Research & Development by automatic spending cuts, and in some cases funding actually increases substantially, such as funding for nuclear research (see this breakdown). This is good news for the development of new energy technology.

Unfortunately, the spending still falls short of what many experts think is needed to solve today’s energy challenges, particularly climate change.  According to several groups–environmental ones but also groups of business leaders–energy R&D should be triple what it is now to sustain the pipeline of innovations needed to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The lack of spending on climate change was highlighted this week in a draft of a United Nations report that was leaked to news organizations such as Reuters.

According to the leaked report, the share of the total energy supply that comes from low carbon energy sources such as nuclear and solar needs to triple or quadruple to keep temperatures from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, a temperature some scientists think would be relatively manageable, Bloomberg reported.

Despite Funding Boost, We’re Spending Too Little on Energy R&D - MIT Technology Review

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