IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this article

Technology policy and global warming: Why new policy models are needed (or why putting new wine in old bottles won't work)


  • Mowery, David C.
  • Nelson, Richard R.
  • Martin, Ben R.


In recent years, the threat of global climate change has come to be seen as one of the most serious confronting humanity. To meet this challenge will require the development of new technologies and the substantial improvement of existing ones, as well as ensuring their prompt and widespread deployment. Some have argued that the urgency of the situation requires a "Manhattan Project" or an "Apollo Program". This paper examines why such a policy model is inappropriate, arguing that the nature of the policy context for confronting climate change necessitates a different kind of technology policy than that for building an atomic bomb or for achieving a manned lunar landing. Instead, it seeks to draw lessons from three sectors that seem to be more pertinent and where government technological development and deployment programs have been pursued with some success in the United States - namely, agriculture, biomedical research and information technology. It compares and contrasts these with the policies pursued with regard to the first two of these sectors in the United Kingdom. The paper concludes by drawing out the implications for the design of policies supporting technological development and innovation to address the problem of global climate change.

Suggested Citation

  • Mowery, David C. & Nelson, Richard R. & Martin, Ben R., 2010. "Technology policy and global warming: Why new policy models are needed (or why putting new wine in old bottles won't work)," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 39(8), pages 1011-1023, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:8:p:1011-1023

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: Full text for ScienceDirect subscribers only

    As the access to this document is restricted, you may want to search for a different version of it.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:eee:respol:v:39:y:2010:i:8:p:1011-1023. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Dana Niculescu). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.