Issues Urges 'Ending the Inertia on Energy Policy'

Dec. 12, 2007

To meet its energy challenges, the United States must undergo an innovation revolution, but that will not be possible unless the country develops a coherent, integrated and effective energy innovation strategy, according to an article in the Winter 2008 Issues in Science and Technology.

According to “A New Strategy to Spur Energy Innovation,” long-standing federal policies “have been developed and implemented individually with too little regard for technological and economic reality and too much regard for regional and industry special interests. There has not been an integrated approach to energy technology innovation that encompasses priority areas of focus.”

The article was written by John Deutch, a former Department of Energy undersecretary and Central Intelligence Agency director in the Clinton administration; John Podesta, former chief of staff to President Clinton and now CEO of the Center for American Progress; and Peter Ogden, a senior policy analyst at the Center for American Progress.

It is one of three articles in the Winter 2008 Issues to focus on how to end the current inertia in U.S. energy policy.

In “The Whys and Hows of Energy Taxes,” Kevin Hassett of the American Enterprise Institute and Gilbert Metcalf of Tufts University argue that 20th-century policy aimed at developing domestic energy sources no longer makes sense.

In “A Blind Man’s Guide to Energy Policy,” Jane C.S. Long of Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory argues that the broad vision needed to transform the energy system will develop only when narrowly focused constituencies learn to see through the eyes of others.

The Winter 2008 Issues in Science and Technology also features the following articles:

  • “Forging a New, Bipartisan Environmental Movement”:  Former House Speaker New Gingrich and Georgia Institute of Technology professor Terry Maple write that action is urgently needed on a host of environmental issues and argue that a strategy based on environmental entrepreneurialism can produce workable solutions.
  • “Dealing with Disabilities”: Marilyn J. Field of the Institute of Medicine and Alan M. Jette of Boston University write that the nation is still not doing enough to help people with disabilities, although the problem is expected to grow worse as the Baby Boom generation enters late life.
  • “Sharing the Catch:  Conserving the Fish": David Festa, Diane Regas, and Judson Boomhower of Environmental Defense argue that to end the urgent problem of overfishing, we need a new approach in which fishermen are given a share in—and take responsibility for—a fishery’s total allowable catch.
  • “Racial Disparities at Birth: The Puzzle Persists": Paula Braveman of the University of California, San Francisco, writes that because of the often-serious lifetime consequences of premature births and low birth weights, much more research is needed into the causes of white/black differences.
  • “Freedom of Speech in Government Science”: David Resnik of the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences says that some restrictions on government scientists are necessary to maintain clarity, quality, confidentiality, and national security, but they should not be used to stifle political debate.

Issues in Science and Technology is the award-winning journal of the National Academy of Sciences, National Academy of Engineering, Institute of Medicine, and the University of Texas at Dallas. Visit online at www.issues.org.


Media Contact: Kevin Finneran, (202) 965-5648, kfinnera@nas.edu

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Issues winter edition

Writers in the winter edition call for changes in the government's policy toward energy research.

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