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Market signal crucial to stimulating green innovation, Gore avers

Engineering News Online

7 October 2011: Climate activist and former US VP Al Gore says a definite market signal is needed to accelerate a global transition to a low-carbon economy and stimulate the research and development (R&D) required to lower the costs associated with renewables technologies.

During a recent address in South Africa, Gore likened the R&D outlay involved to the investment that was generated around the development of the computer chip, which was once perceived as having nothing more than niche applications.

The spectacular advances and employment creation that ensued were the consequence of innovation backed by significant expenditure. “There are now a billion transistors for every person. It has been growing because the cost of information processing on computer chips was cut by 50% every 18 to 24 months,” Gore mused during a speech at the recent Discovery Invest Leadership Summit.

For such progress to be replicated in the green economy, governments would have to provide a framework for the intensification of renewables R&D by outlining a plan for the mass deployment of green-energy solutions and by setting a transparent price for carbon emissions.

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