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.
The Amazon rainforest absorbs more greenhouse gases than any other tropical forest. But in Brazil, deforestation has claimed nearly a fifth of its tree cover, which threatens biodiversity and contributes to climate change.
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.
To assist generations of U.S. policymakers to navigate the complexities of cyber and other technological threats, the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR) has launched the Ira A. Lipman Chair in Emerging Technologies and National Security, named for longtime CFR member Ira A. Lipman, the founder and chairman emeritus of Guardsmark, LLC—one of the world’s largest security services companies.
Reacting to the Brexit vote, critics question whether the UK deserves a UN Security Council seat. If the British do not deserve a seat, then the Russians certainly do not, Elliott Abrams writes in National Review.
Modern vice presidents can trace much of their political influence to the broad reforms that Jimmy Carter and Walter Mondale made to the second-highest elected office in the late 1970s, explains this Backgrounder.
The United Kingdom's vote to leave the EU demonstrates that rising populism in Europe and the United States are both driven by voters who feel alienated from the benefits of globalization, says CFR's Edward Alden.
Security in Turkey has deteriorated in recent years as the country’s leadership seeks to influence conflicts around its borders, argues CFR’s Steven A. Cook. Turkish policies toward Syria, the Kurds, Iraq, and the fight against the self-declared Islamic State has contributed to the rise of terrorism in Turkey, including the attack on the Istanbul airport.
Speaker: Aluf Benn Speaker: Robert Danin Speaker: Martin Kramer
Contributors to Foreign Affairs' July/August issuediscuss the profound changes Israel is undergoing, and what they mean for its politics, society, and relationships with the United States and other Middle Eastern countries.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass. Read and download »