Clean energy: experts outline how governments can successfully invest before it’s too late

8/12/2017

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Researchers distil 20years of lessons from clean energy funding into six ‘guiding principles’. They argue that governments must eschew constant reinventions and grant scientists greater influence before our “window of opportunity” to avert climate change closes.

We urgently need to take stock of policy initiatives around the world that aim to accelerate new energy technologies
- Laura Diaz Anadon

Governments need to give technical experts more autonomy and hold their nerve to provide more long-term stability when investing in clean energy, argue researchers in climate change and innovation policy in a new paper published today.

Writing in the journal Nature, the authors from UK and US institutions have set out guidelines for investment in world-changing energy innovation based on an analysis of the last twenty years of “what works” in clean energy research programs.

Their six simple “guiding principles” also include the need to channel innovation into the private sector through formal tech transfer programmes, and to think in terms of lasting knowledge creation rather than ‘quick win’ potential when funding new projects.

The authors offer a stark warning to governments and policymakers: learn from and build on experience before time runs out, rather than constantly reinventing aims and processes for the sake of political vanity.    

“As the window of opportunity to avert dangerous climate change narrows, we urgently need to take stock of policy initiatives around the world that aim to accelerate new energy technologies and stem greenhouse gas emissions,” said Laura Diaz Anadon, Professor of Climate Change Policy at the University of Cambridge.

“If we don’t build on the lessons from previous policy successes and failures to understand what works and why, we risk wasting time and money in a way that we simply can’t afford,” said Anadon, who authored the new paper with colleagues from the Harvard Kennedy School, as well as the University of Minnesota’s Prof Gabriel Chan.

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Image: Unsplash

Credit: Riccardo Annandale

Reproduced courtesy of the University of Cambridge

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The University of Cambridge is acknowledged as one of the world's leading higher education and research institutions. The University was instrumental in the formation of the Cambridge Network and its Vice- Chancellor, Professor Stephen Toope, is also the President of the Cambridge Network.

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