WASHINGTON, March 1 (UPI) -- The U.S. government should offer prizes and other upfront incentives to induce research and development in lowering carbon emissions, officials said Tuesday.
Sen. Chuck Hagel, R-Neb., make the suggestion at a meeting on Capitol Hill with policymakers, researchers and the media about his three proposed bills meant to induce private companies to invest in research and development and work with developing countries to lower carbon emissions. His proposals include monetary prizes and tax deductions.
The George C. Marshall Institute, a Washington think tank, sponsored the meeting.
David Montgomery, a former deputy assistant secretary of energy, said U.S. companies need money upfront if they are going to develop new, cleaner technology. Companies worry the government will renege on promises to reward efforts to lower carbon dioxide emissions in the future.
CO2 is the major greenhouse gas in Earth's atmosphere.
"If investors see that the government will change its mind, they are not going to significantly invest in research and development. That's why we don't have vaccines for malaria or tuberculosis," Montgomery said. "The only alternative to a promise is a check."