Legal Approaches to Promote Technological Solutions to Climate Change

By: Daniel Van Fleet

Technological advancement is widely viewed as an essential component to any effective climate change strategy. However, there is no consensus as to the degree to which the law should promote technological innovation and development. This iBrief analyzes government involvement in encouraging such technology and divides the various policies into four categories. On one end are policies that rely mainly on market forces to encourage scientific advancement naturally, requiring minimal government involvement. A second category of policies involves technological development promoted indirectly through laws addressing climate change generally. A third type of policy involves directly offering government funding and financing for technological research and development. These three methods are currently the most popular means of encouraging scientific development in this field. Recently, however, there have been increasing calls for major government action of the scale of such programs as the Apollo Project. This iBrief classifies such proposals as a fourth category of policies encouraging technological solutions to climate change: the creation of institutional structures dedicated to bringing about rapid, radical technological advancements.

Cite: 2008 Duke L. & Tech. Rev. 0008