PrintPrint EmailEmail ShareShare CiteCite


Don't Screw Up Natural Gas

Author: Michael A. Levi, David M. Rubenstein Senior Fellow for Energy and the Environment and Director of the Maurice R. Greenberg Center for Geoeconomic Studies
November 17, 2010


Climate policy is in a state of near crisis. Cap-and-trade is dead in US politics for now. Analysts and advocates, focused for so long on that approach, are largely bereft of credible alternatives. It has become fashionable to advocate instead for energy innovation or for "making clean energy cheap." But unlike cap-and-trade, these are not policies: They are goals. Advocates of energy innovation--and advocates for cap-and-trade--need to put new policies on the table.

As Shellenberger and Nordhaus point out, government support for clean-energy innovation is essential to bringing down the cost of cutting emissions, and to making meaningful carbon pricing more politically palatable down the road. Alas, the political prospects of increased government support for clean-technology innovation are weak in the near term. Congress has little appetite for new spending; even the gambit of supporting energy innovation through the defense budget, which should be tried, may fail in an austere fiscal environment. Tax incentives hold more political promise, but they may also be tougher to target effectively.

View full text of article.

More on This Topic

Analysis Brief

Time to Talk to Iran

Author: Greg Bruno

Talks in Geneva over Iran's nuclear program ended with Tehran vowing to cooperate with UN inspectors. However, analysts remain divided...


What Iran Wants

Manouchehr Mottaki interviewed by Greg Bruno

Ahead of Iran's talks with world powers, Iranian Foreign Minister tells CFR.org Tehran will push for recognition of its legal right to enrich...

Expert Roundup

After the Iranian Uprising

Authors: Abbas Milani, Alex Vatanka, Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, and Steve Fairbanks

Violence and unrest following Iran's contested presidential vote on June 12 have raised new questions about the regime's long-term stability...