Writing in Investors Business Daily, Bjorn Lomborg asks: Why can’t we innovate our way to a carbon-free energy future?
“What if, instead of crippling economic growth by trying to make carbon-emitting fuels too expensive to use, we devoted ourselves to making green energy cheaper?” Lomborg asks.
“Right now, solar panels are so expensive — about 10 times as much as fossil fuels in terms of cost per unit of energy output — that only well-heeled, well-meaning (and, usually, well-subsidized) Westerners can afford to install them. But think where we’d be if we could improve the efficiency of solar cells by a factor of 10 — in other words, if we could make them cheaper than fossil fuels. We wouldn’t have to force (or subsidize) anyone to stop burning coal and oil. Everyone, including the Chinese and the Indians, would shift to the cheaper and cleaner alternatives.
This is why I have long urged policymakers to significantly increase the amount of money we invest in green energy R&D. As the Breakthrough Institute, a progressive think tank, has pointed out, we didn’t promote the invention of computers by taxing slide rules or restricting the supply of typewriters. We did it by investing massively in R&D.
In research published by the Copenhagen Consensus Center, Isabel Galiana and Chris Green of McGill University found that devoting just 0.2% of global gross domestic product — roughly $100 billion a year — to green energy R&D would produce the kind of game-changing breakthroughs needed to fuel a carbon-free future.”
COOL IT, the documentary featuring Bjorn Lomborg, opens in theaters beginning November 12.
For more information about Bjorn Lombog and the Copenhagen Consensus, a think-tank based in Denmark that tells governments and philanthropists about the best ways to spend aid and development money, visit: Copenhagen Consensus and FixTheClimate.com.