By Warren Cornwall
A surge in innovation tied to low-carbon energy technologies is showing signs of tapering off in the U.S., at a time when the Trump administration is targeting the field for cuts in government research spending.
The number of patents issued in fields related to cutting carbon emissions climbed from 15,970 in 2009 to approximately 35,000 in 2014 and 2015, before slipping back slightly to around 32,000 in 2016, according to a new report issued today by the Washington, D.C.-based Brookings Institution.
It’s too soon to know whether this short-term drop is part of a bigger trend, says Devashree Saha, the study’s lead author and an associate fellow at Brookings. But it could be compounded by a push from the new president to pare back spending on renewable energy research, she says. “That, I think, raises a lot of concerns as to what is going to be the future of cleantech innovation in the next few years.”
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