U.S. Needs to Boost Spending for Energy R&D, Panel Tells Obama Huge Issue With Small Resources


The President’s Council of Advisers on Science and Technology has released a report that is critical of the U.S. for not investing enough into energy R&D, recommending that spending more than triple from $5 billion to $16 billion (not that much when you compare it to the cost of other big expenditures). The U.S. lags many other country in energy R&D investments (see the chart below), and considering how much it spends on fossil fuels, any investments that reduce that consumption would more than pay for themselves in the long run.

The group’s report suggests that the money could be found through new revenue sources, like a two-cent-per-gallon gasoline tax or a small “line charge” for the transmission of coal-fired electricity.
“These charges are well within the normal fluctuations in price seen by consumers and yet would provide a research fund that could materially lower future energy prices in a world conditioned by security and environmental concerns,” it states.
That might be difficult to do, though, as raising new taxes – even ones that make this much sense – is going to be tough in the current political climate. But people need to understand that there’s a big difference between investing in research that has a good chance of having a high payoff (not only to create whole new industries, but also to reduce future energy costs and environmental costs) and raising taxes to pay for useless wars or whatever.

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