Can new energy research save the world? The economy? Supporters say, “Yes, invest now.” Budget-cutters say, “Forget it.”
Congress tried and failed to put a price on carbon, to unleash market forces to find an alternative to cheap and dirty fossil fuels. With that chance gone for now, advocates are saying: O.K. then, let’s invest directly, public money, big-time, in research to find breakthrough, game-changing clean energy — on a “Manhattan project” scale.
Opponents, Tea Party Republicans, say we can’t afford it, and that budget-cutting must be priority number one. But the rest of the world is moving. Will the U.S. be left behind?
We look at spending, budget-cutting, and the call for a giant push for clean energy.
Steven Hayward, fellow at the American Enterprise Institute who focuses on energy and the environment. Read his new paper, written jointly with the Brookings Institution and the Breakthrough Institute, on “Post-Partisan Power.”
Michael Greenstone, professor of environmental economics at MIT. He served as chief economist on the White House Council of Economic Advisors under President Obama and was part of the administration’s efforts to pass the energy plan. He is also director of the Brooking Institution’s Hamilton Project, a public policy forum that produces research on economic and civic issues.