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Article

Theresa May Must Contain the Brexit Damage — and More

Author: Sebastian Mallaby
Washington Post

Three months ago, before Britain descended into its “Game of Thrones”-esque madness, Theresa May delivered a speech on her country’s place in Europe — on sovereignty, prosperity and the dilemma of a midsize nation in an era of globalization. Unlike those campaigning for Britain to leave the European Union, she wielded real statistics, not fake ones.

See more in United Kingdom; International Organizations and Alliances

Op-Ed

How Little Do U.S. Allies in NATO Spend on Defense?

Author: Stephen Sestanovich
Wall Street Journal

When President Barack Obama sits down with the leaders of allied governments in Warsaw on Friday, there will be much talk of the revitalization of NATO. Much of it will even be justified: The alliance is making its security guarantees more meaningful by deploying more troops with better equipment to front-line Eastern European states.

See more in United States; Defense Budget; International Organizations and Alliances

Op-Ed

New International Energy Forum Focuses on Innovation

Authors: Varun Sivaram and Graham Pugh
The Hill

Last month, energy ministers from around the world gathered in San Francisco for the annual Clean Energy Ministerial (CEM), which for the past seven years has focused on deploying existing clean energy technologies around the world. But for the first time, clean energy innovation was on the gathering’s agenda as well. In a parallel “Mission Innovation” Ministerial (MIM), twenty countries and the European Union — accounting for over 80 percent of the world’s public energy research and development (R&D) funding — committed to collectively double R&D funding to $30 billion by 2021.

See more in Global; Energy Policy; Climate Change

Article

Venture Capital and Cleantech: The Wrong Model for Clean Energy Innovation

Author: Varun Sivaram
Council on Foreign Relations

Venture capital (VC) firms spent over $25 billion funding clean energy technology (cleantech) start-ups from 2006 to 2011 and lost over half their money; as a result, funding has dried up in the cleantech sector. In this article, we present the most comprehensive account to date of the cleantech VC boom and bust, aggregating hundreds of investments to calculate the risk/return profile of cleantech, compared with those of medical and software technology investments. The results are stark— cleantech offered VCs a dismal risk/return profile, dragged down by companies developing new materials, chemistries, or processes that never achieved manufacturing scale. We conclude that the VC model is broken for the cleantech sector, which suffers especially from a dearth of large corporations willing to invest in innovation. Fortunately, new public and private capital may be on the way after announcements made at the 2015 Paris Climate Change Summit. If a new and more diverse set of actors avoids the mistakes of the cleantech VC boom and bust, then they may be able to support a new generation of cleantech companies.

See more in Global; Energy and Environment