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National Commission on Innovation and Competitiveness Frontiers

Phase 2 Working Group: The Future of Sustainability – Accelerating Innovation in Clean Energy Technology

Working Group Assets

Working Group Objective

Global population growth, urbanization, and intensified consumption are increasingly stressing the planet. These impacts are no longer distant or abstract. Consumption is outpacing extraction, our planet continues to warm, and resources like fresh water are becoming increasingly scarce. This dynamic is currently playing out in food production: demand for food is steadily increasing alongside the growth of the middle class, while the land and resources needed to produce this food are increasingly constrained in the face of climate-induced droughts, lack of sustainable water sources, and increased energy use. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has projected that we must cut greenhouse gas emissions by 43% by 2030 and reach net-zero emissions by 2050 to meet a 1.5 °C target.

According to McKinsey, annual worldwide capital spending on low-emissions physical assets will need to increase by $3.5 trillion to achieve these climate goals. Many current models for GHG reduction assume clean energy technology cost declines that will be impossible without sustained and rapid innovation.

In the 2020 report, Competing in the Next Economy and through facilitated discussions during the Lockheed Martin-sponsored webinar 2021 Sustainability: Pursuing Innovation with Purpose, key recommendations included fostering partnerships between the public and private sector to strengthen deployment and commercialization of key technologies, promoting sustainability-focused education to empower the future workforce, and encouraging metrics to ensure corporate action is grounded in sustainable practices. Phase 2 of the Commission will build on this critical work with more specific policy recommendations.

Key Issues + Discussion Questions

In Phase 2 of the National Commission, the Accelerating Innovation in Clean Energy Technology working group will narrow its focus on a key element of sustainability: decarbonizing our energy system through accelerated innovation in clean energy technologies. Through this effort, the group is striving to answer questions like:

  • How can the United States boost investment in development and deployment of promising, essential clean energy technologies?
  • How can the United States modernize the U.S. power grid to enable the clean energy transition?
  • How can the United States establish a supportive domestic policy ecosystem to foster clean energy innovation?
  • How can the United States engage proactively on the international stage to address trade issues and reinforce global competitiveness in clean energy?

To learn more about the National Commission on Innovation & Competitiveness Frontiers, please contact Council on Competitiveness Executive Vice President Chad Evans at [email protected].

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