Friday, April 13, 2012

More than innovation

Many Greens have a gut level distrust of technical innovation as being able to ensure humanity's progress, even as they take advantage of the latest social media innovations that are part of America's love affair with technology.

When it becomes necessary to put forward a coherent policy that considers both ecological and economic concerns, Greens rely on the concept of sustainability to define their objective. However, we are not often clear about what policies we would put in place to become truly sustainable.

To that end, I suggest reading the full text of Gregory Wagner's article Innovation is Not Enough: Why Polluters Must Pay. Wagner is an economist teaching energy economics at Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs. He summarizes his own article in this manner:
In short, we need to ramp up and be able to sustain R&D (&D) — and that is nearly impossible when all market forces are pointing in the opposite direction. We need to guide private research efforts, and we need to pay for public ones. The American Energy Innovation Council lists five ways for government to come up with the necessary funds, four of which point to increasing the price of fossil energy.
In this coming presidential election, Greens need to be clear that our energy policy will put a price on carbon in whatever form it is used.