Financiers Recommend R&D Funding

By Published On: March 21, 2008

Clean energy breakthroughs depend on significant government research and development funding, agreed public policy, business, and academic leaders at the University of California at Berkeley’s second annual Energy Symposium earlier this month. Without enough, the shift to clean energy could fall short or “crash.” “We’re at a very critical cusp in time,” said David Sandalow, Brookings Institution senior fellow. “There is no magic bullet for adapting to global warming because the impacts are so wide ranging.” Financiers seemed to agree. “If we go on as business-as-usual, the Arctic ice cap will melt in 5 years,” said John Doerr, partner at the venture capital fund Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. “The best way we can predict the future is to invent it. The second best way is to fund it.” He added that “only $1 billion of federal R&D are designated for renewables. The federal geothermal budget was only $5 million. This is criminal for investment R&D.” Moreover, research and development funding is not seen as stable enough to “ensure predictability for policy-makers, which is critical to nurture the innovation,” said Mitch Zuklie, law firm partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. -Allison Loomis Editors’ note: For a more detailed version of this story, please see our sister publication E=MC2 – Energy Meets Climate Challenge–energymeetsclimate.com.

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