Obama to Double Funding for Clean Energy R&D

Obama Graffiti

By Jenny Tan

February 11, 2016

Obama has included a doubling of funding for clean energy research and development in his federal budget sent to Congress on Tuesday.

He plans to increase funding by 15 per cent each year from $6.4 billion in 2015 to $12.8 billion in 2020, according to a White House press release.   

In his latest weekly address, President Obama noted the funding will “help the private sector create more jobs faster, lower the cost of clean energy faster, and help clean, renewable power out-compete dirty fuels in every state”.

But the Republican-controlled House of Representatives and Senate are unlikely to support the budget, suggests Bloomberg Politics, even though Obama noted that “many [Republican representatives] realise that clean energy is an incredible source of good-paying jobs for their constituents.”

Canada is also making plans to increase its clean energy funding. At the COP21 climate conference in Paris last December, the federal government pledged to invest $300 million each year in clean energy production, in research and development, and to support “the use of clean technologies in the natural resources sector.”

The funding increases are part of an agreement reached in Paris by 20 countries, including the United States and Canada, and private investors like Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg. The Mission Innovation global partnership aims to “double government investment over the next five years in clean energy research and development, and to spur private sector investment in clean technology,” according to a press release from the Prime Minister’s Office.

According to Clean Energy Canada, investment in clean energy by provincial governments reached $10.7 billion in 2014, up from $5.8 billion in 2013.

The United Nations also calls for a doubling of investment in clean energy. According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, a record-breaking $329 billion worldwide was invested in clean energy in 2015, beating the previous record set in 2011 of $315.9 billion. However, the transition to clean energy is still not fast enough, says UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon. “I challenge investors to double – at a minimum – their clean energy investments by 2020,” Ban told investors last month, as reported by the Guardian.