White House

Congress Boosts Clean Energy Research over Trump’s Objections

This week, the US House of Representatives passed spending bills that add hundreds of millions of dollars for energy research and development, defying the White House’s requests to cut funding in these areas.

Congress has consistently increased energy R&D funding throughout the Trump administration, indicating growing bipartisan support for innovation spending despite disagreements over enacting more aggressive climate policies.

The details: The legislation boosts energy research spending by 11% to $8.1 billion for fiscal 2020, including increases for nuclear energy, energy efficiency, sustainable transportation and renewable electricity, according to an analysis by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation. (How much spending increased precisely depends on how you define the categories, and others calculated the figures differently.)

The big picture: R&D spending is crucial for developing cheaper and better clean energy sources, batteries and other clean technologies. But given the rising dangers of climate change and slow reductions in greenhouse gas emissions, we clearly need additional government policies to push these technologies into the market faster.

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