Comment | Published:

Rescue US energy innovation

Nature Energyvolume 2pages760763 (2017) | Download Citation

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.

Additional access options:

Already a subscriber?  Log in  now or  Register  for online access.


  1. 1.

    FY18 R&D Appropriations Dashboard : R&D Budget and Policy Program (AAAS, 2017);

  2. 2.

    NAS. An Assessment of ARPA-E. (National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2017).

  3. 3.

    Gallagher, K. S. & Anadon, L. D. DOE Budget Authority for Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration Database (2017).

  4. 4.

    Gallagher, K. S., Grubler, A., Kuhl, L., Nemet, G. & Wilson, C. Annu. Rev. Environ. Resources 37, 137–162 (2012).

  5. 5.

    Science and Engineering Indicators (National Science Board, 2016);

  6. 6.

    Narayanamurti, V. & Odumosu, T. Cycles of Invention and Discovery: Rethinking the Endless Frontier. (Harvard Univ. Press, Cambridge MA, 2016).

  7. 7.

    Trembath, A., Jenkins, J., Nordhaus, T. & Schellenberger, M. Where the Shale Gas Revolution Came From (Breakthrough Institute, Oakland, CA, 2012).

  8. 8.

    President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Federal Energy R&D for the Challenges of the 21st Century (Executive Office of the President of the United States, Washington DC, 1997);

  9. 9.

    Energy Future: Think Efficiency. How America Can Look Within to Achieve Energy Security and Reduce Global Warming (American Physical Society, 2011);

  10. 10.

    A Business Plan for America’s Energy Future (American Energy Innovation Council, Washington DC, 2010);

  11. 11.

    Post Partisan Power: How a Limited Approach to Energy Innovation Can Deliver Cheap Energy, Economic Productivity, and National Prosperity (American Enterprise Institute, Brookings Institution & Breakthrough Institute, Washington DC, 2010).

  12. 12.

    Ending the Energy Stalemate: A Bipartisan Strategy to Meet America’s Energy Challenges (NCEP, Washington DC, 2004).

  13. 13.

    Kammen, D. F. & Nemet, G. F. Issues Sci. Technol. 22(suppl.), 84–88 (2005).

  14. 14.

    President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology. Accelerating the Pace of Change in Energy Technologies Through an Integrated Federal Energy Policy (Executive Office of the President of the United States, Washington DC, 2010).

  15. 15.

    Anadon, L. D., Chan, G. & Lee, A. in Transforming US Energy Innovation (eds Anadon, L. D. et al.) Ch. 2, 36–75 (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2014).

  16. 16.

    Chan, G. & Anadon, L. D. Improving Decision Making for Public R&D Investment in Energy: Utilizing Expert Elicitation in Parametric Models Univ. Cambridge Energy Policy Research Group Working Paper 1631, Cambridge Working Paper in Economics 1682 (2016);

  17. 17.

    Greenfieldboyce, N. Trump’s budget slashes climate change funding. The Two-Way (16 March 2017);

  18. 18.

    IPCC Climate Change 2014: Synthesis Report (eds Core Writing Team, Pachauri, R. K. & Meyer, L. A.) (IPCC, 2015).

  19. 19.

    Holdren, J. P. The Science Supporting the Climate Action Plan : Testimony before the Committee on Science, Space, and Technology, US House of Representatives (2014);

  20. 20.

    The True Costs of Fossil Fuels (IRENA, 2016);

  21. 21.

    Coady, D. et al. How Large Are Global Energy Subsidies? WP/15/105 (IMF, 2015);

  22. 22.

    Nordhaus, W. Schumpeterian Profits in the American Economy: Theory and Measurement Research Paper no. 10433 (NBER, 2004).

  23. 23.

    Nemet, G. & Kammen, D. Energy Policy 35, 746–755 (2006).

  24. 24.

    Jaruzelski, B. & Dehoff, K. The Customer Connection: The Global Innovation 1000 (Booz Allen Hamilton, New York, 2007);

  25. 25.

    Myslikova, Z., Gallagher, K. S. & Zhang, F. Mission Innovation 2.0. CIERP Discussion Paper 14 (The Fletcher School, Tufts Univ., Melford, MA, 2017);

  26. 26.

    US National Research Council. Energy Research at DOE: Was It Worth It? Energy Efficiency and Fossil Energy Research 1978 to 2000 (National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2001);

  27. 27.

    US DOE. ARPA-E Impacts Vol. 2 (ARPA-E, 2017);

  28. 28.

    Anadon, L. D. Res. Policy 41, 1742–1756 (2012).

  29. 29.

    Gallagher, K. S. The Globalization of Clean Energy Technology: Lessons from China (MIT Press, Cambridge, MA, 2014).

  30. 30.

    Anadon, L. D., Chan, G., Bin-Nun, A. & Narayanamurti, V. Nat. Energy 1, 16117 (2016).

  31. 31.

    National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine An Assessment of ARPA-E (National Academies Press, Washington DC, 2017).

  32. 32.

    Grubler, A. et al. Global Energy Assessment. Ch. 24 (Cambridge Univ. Press, Cambridge, 2012).

  33. 33.

    Anadon, L. D., Baker, E. D. & Bosetti, V. Nat. Energy 2, 17071 (2017).

Download references

Author information

Author notes

  1. Laura Diaz Anadon, Kelly Sims Gallagher and John P. Holdren made equal contributions.


  1. Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, CB3 9DT, UK

    • Laura Diaz Anadon
  2. The Fletcher School, Tufts University, Medford, MA, 02155, USA

    • Kelly Sims Gallagher
  3. John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 02138, USA

    • John P. Holdren


  1. Search for Laura Diaz Anadon in:

  2. Search for Kelly Sims Gallagher in:

  3. Search for John P. Holdren in:

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Kelly Sims Gallagher.

About this article

Publication history



Rights and permissions

To obtain permission to re-use content from this article visit RightsLink.