Sunday, May 20, 2007

Innovation is the engine that drives change

Politicians are the same all over. They promise to build a bridge where there is no river.
Nikita Khrushchev

Following the last two g8 meetings the Combined academies of science have released two positive statements for this one in June.

The first is on innovation and protection of prosperity.

Innovation is the engine that drives economies. Countries support innovation to ensure dynamic economic advancement and prosperity, to gain competitive advantage internationally, and to improve the quality of life of their citizens and those of other nations. The latter is fostered through international collaboration, especially in research and development. At the very least, global collaboration requires greater promotion and funding, in priority areas such as sustainable energy, climate change adaptation and mitigation, natural hazards, biodiversity, water, and infectious diseases. It is important for governments to invest strongly in a spectrum of basic research, since the greatest benefits often arise from investigations in areas that are not the subject of international focus at a given time. Innovation faces a fundamental dilemma: the innovator bears the cost, but is not guaranteed the full returns of his or her efforts. Innovators facing immediate imitation are less likely to engage in costly efforts. In addition to their vital responsibilities for education and training, governments have therefore pursued a number of approaches to foster innovation, including the establishment of intellectual property rights such as patents and copyrights, the financial support of R&D and innovation through public funding or subsidies, and the productive use of public procurement. It is critical to establish an appropriate balance between strong government investment and removal of barriers to research and licensing.

Innovation and incentive are the ingredients to make technology advance exponentially, not repressive tactics such as carbon taxes, emission markets. Or cap and trade policies, these are the policies of intellectual deserts.

If for example we use lighting ,it will not be the banning of the incandescent lightbulb and replacement with fluorescent bulbs. The exponential jump will be as different from the candle to the Edison bulb.Here it will be the change to LED and nano based lighting systems.

In the second statement the Joint science academies’ statement on growth and responsibility: sustainability, energy efficiency and climate protection.

It is important that the 2007 G8 Summit is addressing the linked issues of energy security and climate change. These are defining issues of our time, and bring together the themes of growth and responsibility in a way that highlights our duties to future generations.

Last year our academies addressed a further important aspect of the challenges related to energy: the implications for security. We noted then that a key strategic priority will be a diversification of energy sources, as a way to address the wide variety of circumstances and resources, and to decrease vulnerabilities to a wide range of possible disruptions in supply.

Major investments and successful technological and institutional innovation will be needed to achieve better energy efficiency, low- or zero-carbon energy sources and carbon-removing schemes. A clear area for increased investment is energy conservation and efficiency. This has immediate and long-term benefits for local and regional health and environment, security of energy services and climate change, while having potential for local economic development and build-up of local technological capabilities

Against this background it will be necessary to develop and deploy new sources and systems for energy supply, including clean use of coal, carbon capture and storage, unconventional fossil fuel resources, advanced nuclear systems, advanced renewable energy systems (including solar, wind, biomass and geothermal energy), smart grids and energy storage technologies. Research focused on the energy field must be enlarged significantly. The InterAcademy Council (IAC) is preparing a report on these challenges, which will be available later this year.

It is urgent to increase efficiency in the global production and use of energy. Energy efficiency has been a major field for the G8 countries since the 2003 Evian Summit.Concentrating on energy efficiency is an effective contribution towards meeting the global energy challenges The implementation of measures to increase energy efficiency will depend to a decisive extent on financing options and technology knowledge. A sound financial and technological framework and improved global investment conditions will therefore be vital.

Once again innovation and incentive of which the obvious is r&d credits and accelerated depreciation on new technology.

Of course governments are not bound to follow these scientists it is only a consensus


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