US to Invest Billions in Climate Innovations

In an effort to speed along the goal of getting the United States to net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, the White House has announced a new initiative to boost “game-changing” energy technologies.


The White House

The Net-Zero Game Changers Initiative is intended to support 37 clean energy research priorities throughout the federal government, with an eye toward “long-term transformation of the energy system.” Some of these priorities involve creating more advanced versions of technology that already exist, like solar and wind power. Others seek to develop emerging technologies or bring new ones to market, like nuclear fusion or “direct air capture,” which aims to permanently remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.


“The whole point of this exercise is to accelerate deployment even faster and farther,” said Arati Prabhakar, director of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy.


While we have many of the technologies needed to start cutting emissions today, an International Energy Agency report found that nearly half of the emissions reductions that the world will need to get to net zero by 2050 will involve many technologies “that are currently at the demonstration or prototype phase.” The administration (as well as the tech industry) will now work to speed up getting them ready for deployment.


Five of the 37 research and development opportunities have been designated as top near-term priorities, including electrifying the power grid, decarbonizing airlines, and creating more energy-efficient heating and cooling systems for buildings. The White House says they will benefit from investments made under two pieces of legislation enacted over the past year - the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act - and the CHIPS and Science Act, enacted in August to provide some $280 billion in new funding for scientific research.


Government officials said the initiative will help the U.S. keep pace with China, which has ramped up investment in clean-energy research over the past several years. “Two decades ago, we invested as much as five times as China in development, and now we are just barely ahead,” Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm told reporters.

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