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Turning Lead into Gold: An Innovation Carbon Price (VIDEO)

There are two things for certain about the energy policy debate: we’ve been having the same debate for almost 40 years without resolution and the struggle to implement a new energy policy isn’t going to get easier any time soon. Take today’s President’s Georgetown address on energy security:

“Presidents and politicians of every stripe have promised energy independence but that promise has so far gone unmet. That has to change. We cannot keep going from shock to trance on the issue of energy security, rushing to propose action when gas prices rise, then hitting the snooze button when they fall again.”

So here we are again, but in 2011. The United States needs a new energy policy, pronto. Gasoline prices are on the rise again. The national security impact of imported fossil fuels is an ever growing concern. We still haven’t dealt with the big issue of human-induced climate change. And cap and trade failed as a viable policy because it would have harmed U.S. competitiveness and not drastically reduced emissions.

It’s obvious that a new approach is needed – one that accounts for U.S. industrial competitiveness as well as the need to spur clean tech innovation. And given the current focus on budget austerity in Congress, a way to fundthe policy would be useful too. With these in mind, ITIF proposes a unique solution: an Innovation Carbon Price. In short, we aim to do what is thought to be impossible: turn lead to gold. Or rather turn a carbon price into an innovation and growth policy. Check out the video above as I provide policy details as well as present our analysis of an Innovation Carbon Price’s short and long term economic impact. An innovation Carbon Price

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About the author

Matthew Stepp is a Senior Analyst with the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF) specializing in climate change and clean energy policy. His research interests include clean energy technology development, climate science policy development, transportation policy, and the role innovation has in economic growth.