Wednesday, February 8, 2017
Zachary Liscow (Yale) presents Innovation and Climate Law (with Quentin Karpilow (Yale)) at Toronto today as part of its James Hausman Tax Law and Policy Workshop Series:
A common view in environmental law is that the government should not pick certain technologies over others. Rather, in the context of climate policy, this view suggests that the government should impose a carbon tax and let that induce innovation in private sector through the patent system. We offer a qualified defense of the government “picking winners”: directly encouraging innovation in cleantech over dirtytech and even within cleantech. Our argument is largely based on recent research in economics showing “path dependence” in the development of energy technology, suggesting that a big push in cleantech innovation can lead to a permanent reorientation of the energy sector and lead to more emissions reductions at lower cost.
This divergence from conventional economic thinking has far-reaching consequences for domestic and international environmental and innovation policy.