Rescue US energy innovation
President Trump has proposed severe cuts to US government spending on energy research, development and demonstration, but Congress has the ‘power of the purse’ and can rescue US energy innovation. If serious cuts are enacted, the pace of innovation will slow, harming the economy, energy security and global environmental quality. The Trump Administration has proposed a 57% reduction in US government investments in energy research, development and demonstration (RD&D) at the Department of Energy (DOE), from US$3.8 billion allocated for fiscal year 2017 (FY2017) under the continuing resolution to US$1.6 billion in the FY2018 request (unless otherwise stated, all dollar figures are given in constant 2015 US dollars). These severe reductions, if enacted by Congress, would reduce the pace of US energy-technology innovation, ultimately harming the US economy, energy security, environmental quality and the capacity of the world’s second largest emitter of greenhouse gases to do its share in reducing the emissions that are driving global climate change. This abdication of leadership would adversely affect not just US interests but global interests as well.