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Update 1: Sting..

June 11, 2010

Talking innovation… guess who’s coming to dinner…

A group of powerful U.S. business leaders has called on the government to sharply increase funding of renewable energy research or risk falling far behind other nations in the race to replace fossil fuels with green technologies. The group, which includes Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates, General Electric CEO Jeffrey Immelt, and venture capitalist John Doerr, said the government should triple spending on energy research and development to $16 billion a year and create a national energy board to oversee investment decisions in renewable energy research. Gates, speaking for the group, the American Energy Innovation Council, said it was vital that the nation reduce its dependence on fossil fuels and slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050. But he said in an interview with the New York Times that there’s “no way… you’re going to come close to meeting an 80 percent reduction unless you have an immense breakthrough,” which he said would only come with a major boost in government funding of a wide variety of experimental energy technologies. The group noted that the U.S. now spends less than $5 billion a year on energy research and development, compared to $80 billion a year on military R & D. Doerr, the Silicon Valley venture capitalist, said that when his firm began looking at investments in green energy, “the best fuel cells, the best energy storage and the best wind technology were all born outside the United States.”

Hattip: YaleEnvironment.

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