innovation policy

Renewable Energy: A Timeline

Today’s wind and solar resources didn’t come out of nowhere.

The first efforts to use of wind to generate electricity was 134 years ago, and the photoelectric effect was discovered six decades earlier. So in a sense, these are old technologies — about the same age as the very first internal combustion engines. But the scientific and technological advances that made these technologies competitive with …


Safeguarding Climate Policies

There are several strategies for insulating climate policy from leaders like Trump.

Trump’s election was a surprise. What should not be a surprise is the inevitability of political setbacks for climate policy. We saw that in the U.S. with the shift from Clinton to Bush and then from Obama to Trump. We also saw that in Australia where it meant the repeal of a promising emissions trading …


Promoting Energy Innovation

Novel energy technologies need special care and feeding if they are to develop and enter the marketplace.

An MIT professor has a great idea for a molten metal battery that could outperform lithium batteries. Of course, like many great ideas, this one might not pan out. But even if it does pan out technically, Grist explains one reason why it might never get to the commercial stage: “Ultimately, the thing that makes …


Pollution markets haven’t stimulated innovation

One of the early claims in favor of a cap-and-trade approach to pollution control, as opposed to traditional command-and-control innovation, was that market incentives would better encourage innovation in pollution control techniques and technologies. On the other hand, legal scholars such as David Driesen have long contended that pollution markets can actually reduce innovation incentives. …