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Politicians Could Take A Lesson From These Two Opposing Camps

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Post Partisan PowerIn a rare but fruitful collaboration, the American Enterprise Institute and Brooking Institute joined together with Breakthrough Institute to develop a new energy policy recommendation that could lead the country towards a sound, efficient and effective energy policy that could satisfy both Republicans and Democrats.

The Breakthrough Institute was founded in 2003 by Michael Shellenberger and Ted Nordhaus to modernize liberal-progressive-green politics. Pulling together the conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal leaning think-tank, The Brookings Institute, the three organizations worked collaboratively to create a white paper, “Post-Partisan Power” – Summary of Recommendations, that lays out an energy policy for a 21st Century United States.

It is time to hit the reset button on energy policy, according to scholars with American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution and the Breakthrough Institute, who are today releasing a new report, “Post-Partisan Power,” which calls for revamping America’s energy innovation system with the aim of making clean energy cheap.
[…]
Writes David Leonhardt in today’s New York Times, “the death of cap and trade doesn’t have to mean the death of climate policy. The alternative revolves around much more, and much better organized, financing for clean energy research. It’s an idea with a growing list of supporters, a list that even includes conservatives — most of whom opposed cap and trade.”

Mark Muro of Brookings tells Politico the proposal’s four parts “are broadly popular, provide a very broad and appealing American vision of economic transformation and are certainly far more doable than a global pricing system at this point.” Added Steve Hayward of American Enterprise Institute, “The entire climate and energy agenda that we’ve been talking about for several years now has hit a dead end, so it’s time to hit the reset button.”

The energy policy these three think tanks propose focuses on research and development to encourage and create cost effective innovation that the private market can manufacture and deploy here in the U.S. as well as sell abroad.

Taking a market based approach, such as was used by DARPA in the 1960s and ’70s, the recommendations do not rely upon taxes or “cap and trade” to force innovation. Instead the authors recommend using the capacity of the federal government in collaboration with scientists, universities and private industry to spur innovation and develop highly cost effective and efficient market oriented products that can be manufactured in the US and sold worldwide.

As the Politico article states:

The authors blame lawmakers on the left and right for getting wrapped up in the “climate wars” of the last decade while doing little to advance clean energy.

“The choice is not, as liberals often maintain, between global warming apocalypse or mandating the widespread adoption of today’s solar, wind, and electric car technologies,” they write. “Nor is the choice, as conservatives have argued, between an economy wrecked by liberal global warming policies or expanding drilling and nuclear power.”

Instead, they’re proposing a middle ground. And they think the country might have a bigger appetite for compromise after the demise of energy and climate legislation this year.

To read the entire report, download the white paper here.

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Written by Valerie Curl

October 13, 2010 at 4:07 PM

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