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U.S. Response Not Proportionate to Threat of Energy Insecurity, Say Experts Testifying on R&D Needs to Meet America’s Energy and Climate Challenges
“Simply put, the U.S. has not responded in a manner proportionate to the threat posed by entering an energy-insecure future,” Stephen Forrest, Vice President for Research at the University of Michigan, told members of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming September 10.
Forrest was one of four experts who testified on how new investments in energy research and development could bolster the nation's capacity to combat climate change. Three Science Coalition members – MIT, University of Michigan, and University of California, Berkeley – were represented among the witnesses.
Rep. Ed Markey (D-Mass.), chairman of the committee, requested witnesses at the hearing to discuss how much federal funding will be needed for research and development initiatives to encourage more renewable energy production.
Dr. Daniel Kammen, professor of energy and Founding Director, Renewable and Appropriate Energy Laboratory (RAEL) at the University of California, Berkeley, said, "Total R&D funding in the United States is far too low given its importance to our economic and geopolitical security and to the sustainability of the environment. The Congress and the Executive Office need to recognize the vital role that leadership in energy can play in our outlook for economic growth.”
Dr. Kammen added, “In terms of federal investment – financially and in terms of commitment – in clean and secure energy, we have simply not become serious."
MIT president Susan Hockfield also testified at the hearing. She described the passionate interest that MIT students feel for the energy challenge and the critical need to supply them with funding: “The (MIT) students' interest is absolutely deafening, and one of my fears is that if we don't fund the kind of research that will fuel innovation, these very brilliant students will see that a bright future actually lies elsewhere, even despite their passion for solving what I believe is the greatest challenge of our era.”
The entire testimony from the hearing can be found at: