By Johanna Peace, Breakthrough Fellow
The American Clean Energy and Security Act (ACES) that passed by a margin of 219-212 in the House on Friday needs a major makeover in the Senate in order to redress its critically insufficient provisions for funding clean energy R&D, according to Mark Muro, policy director at the Brookings Institution’s Metropolitan Policy Program.
In a Brookings article criticizing the climate bill, Muro argues:
“While a $20 to $30 billion a year R&D outlay would be optimal, Waxman-Markey would invest just 1.5 percent of the 40-year revenue stream of the cap-and-trade system in the R&D efforts of ARPA-E and the innovation hubs–which comes to just $1.4 billion a year or so at accepted permit price forecasts… The bottom line: Reps. Waxman and Markey did well to install several crucial innovation provisions in the House bill, but the political trades that were required to pass it have left far too little revenue behind for the most crucial use of cap-trade money–investments to catalyze a radically cleaner energy future.”
Muro’s points reaffirm Breakthrough Institute’s analysis, which has shown how ACES invests far more cap and trade revenue in polluting industries and foreign offsets than it does in building new clean energy industries in the U.S.
Muro mentions that some ACES provisions — such as the funding it would direct toward ARPA-E and the eight regional “Energy Innovation Hubs” it would establish — constitute a modest start toward the kind of public investment that will promote the development and commercialization of clean energy technologies. Breakthrough Institute, too, has pointed to some of the same provisions as promising — but only if they are adequately funded.
But they’re not. Important as their mere presence may be, these tiny
“slivers of the 40-year revenue stream” of the ACES cap and trade
system remain a “paltry” fraction of the public investment the United
States will need to propel a transition to a prosperous, clean energy