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East Bay Group Pushes To Restart Climate Legislation

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Wind generators (AP)

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OAKLAND (KCBS) -The conservative American Enterprise Institute and the liberal Brookings Institution are releasing a joint proposal aimed at increasing federal spending on clean energy innovation. Their proposal is sponsored by the Breakthrough Institute in Oakland, whose president Michael Shellenberger spoke to KCBS.

The country has spent nearly 20 years trying to force people to conserve by making fossil fuels more expensive, either through pollution regulations or taxes – and it hasn’t worked.”What we figured out is that we can all agree that we need a lot more technology innovation so that we can make clean energy technologies a lot cheaper and gradually move away from fossil fuels,” said Shellenberger.He says one recommendation is a role for government that’s both limited and direct.”It’s limited in a sense that we’re not trying to change the entire energy economy,” said Shellenberger. “It’s a trillion dollar sector of the economy, trying to change it in one fell swoop is overly complex and unnecessary.”Also, instead of indirect incentives such as tax credits, the group would like to return to what’s worked in the past to speed innovation.”We would like the defense department to buy the most advanced technologies and proves the concept,” said Shellenberger.An energy innovation budget increase from $4 billion to $25 billion is relatively small compared to the $80 billion annual budget for defense innovation.

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