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Eyes on a Climate Prize: Rewarding Energy Innovation to Achieve Climate Stabilization

August 2012

Citation: 42 ELR 10713

Issue: 8

Author: Jonathan H. Adler

Meeting the climate policy challenge will require policymakers to expand their policy toolkit. Specifically, the federal government should shift a substantial portion of climate-related research and development funding from grants to prizes. Instead of doling out billions to researchers in the hope they will invent something that will help solve the global warming challenge, the government should offer substantial rewards to those who invent or develop technologies that solve particular climate-related problems. While no policy guarantees technological innovation, greater reliance on inducement prizes would increase the likelihood of developing and deploying needed technologies in time to alter the world’s climate future.

Jonathan Adler is Johan Verheij Memorial Professor of Law and Director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at the Case Western Reserve University School of Law.

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