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

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

Abstract

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
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