A Manhattan Project for Energy?

Can new energy research save the world? The economy? Supporters say, “Yes, invest now.” Budget-cutters say, “Forget it.”

Sandia National Laboratories shows Stirling Energy System's SunCatcher solar power dishes in Albuquerque, N.M. (AP)

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.

-Tom Ashbrook


Ryan Lizza, correspondent for The New Yorker. Read his inside account of how climate-energy legislation was derailed: “As the World Burns.”

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.

Matt Kibbe, president and CEO of  FreedomWorks, an advocacy organization that works to promote smaller government and has close ties with the Tea Party movement.

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
Nov 27, 2015
Josh Baldonado, an administrative assistant at Brown & Brown Insurance, works at a treadmill desk in the firms offices in Carmel, Ind., Wednesday, Aug. 28, 2013. (AP)

The end of sitting at work. A new call to get up off our chairs. To stand and move! We’ll look at how that works.

Nov 27, 2015
The punk rock band Sleater-Kinney (from L: Janet Weiss, Carrie Brownstein and Corin Tucker) (Courtesy the Band)

Feminist punk-rockers, the band Sleater-Kinney, is with us. Reunited. Hotter than ever.

Nov 26, 2015
Jewel performs in the On Point Studio on Tuesday, September 22, 2015. (Liz Gillis / WBUR)

Singer-songwriter Jewel asked “who will save your soul”? Now she’s talking about saving her own. We’ll talk to Jewel.

Nov 26, 2015
This photo taken July 31, 2012 shows a "tiny" house April Anson built in Portland, Ore. For the past couple of months, 33-year-old Anson and her friends have been planning, measuring, sawing and hammering their way toward completion of what might look like a child’s playhouse. (AP)

Tiny houses, micro-apartments. They’re hot. Americans are downsizing.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
Fresh Ideas For Your Thanksgiving: Recipes
Wednesday, Nov 25, 2015

Did our Thanksgiving 2016 episode make you hungry? Good news — we’ve got recipes right here.

More »
Karl Rove Still Won’t Get Involved In The 2016 G.O.P. Primary
Tuesday, Nov 24, 2015

Karl Rove may say he’s not endorsing or getting involved in the 2016 G.O.P. presidential primary, but that won’t stop from offering advice on how to beat Republican front runner Donald Trump.

More »
Roger Cohen And Barry Posen On ISIS
Monday, Nov 23, 2015

A brief, but illustrative exchange between Barry Posen and Roger Cohen during our conversation on ISIS today.

More »