Navigation Links
CWRU law professor eyes prize-based incentives to generate climate innovation

Could a multi-million dollar prize spur the next big innovation in sustainable climate technology?

Jonathan H. Adler, professor and director of the Center for Business Law and Regulation at Case Western Reserve University's School of Law, suggests that prize-based incentives could do just that.

"Technology-induced prizes have a long and storied history," writes Adler in his article, "Eye on a Climate Prize Rewarding Energy Innovation to Achieve Climate Stabilization," recently published in the Harvard Environmental Law Review.

Historically prizes have led to discoveries: James Maxwell's mathematical theory of Saturn rings; Heinrich Hertz's detection of radio waves; and the solution for deriving longitude by English clockmaker John Harrison, who invented the marine chronometer that revolutionized sea travel in the 1770s and continues to guide nautical travel. More recently, Richard Branson inspired inventors to strive for a $25 million prize in the "Virgin Earth Challenge" to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Adler adds that a clear need exists for these new technologies that will make climate change costs for business and countries less expensive and more available.

With President Obama's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent by 2050, "Global climate change is a terribly vexing environmental problem," Adler writes. "Its scope, complexity and potential costs are daunting."

Carbon emissions currently outpace available solutions to curb them. To achieve what climate experts call the stabilization goal would require reducing carbon emissions to between 450 and 550 parts per million. Those lower levels have not been seen in the U.S. for nearly a century, when the population was at 100 million people. Today, the population is approaching 400 million.

"Yet even reductions of this scale would not leave developing nations much room to increase their emissions," Adler notes.

He suggests shifting some of the dollars earmarked for alternative energy research to prizes. There are drawbacks, he says, to the $3 billion in federally funded grants offered to researchers working on climate change solutions. Among those drawbacks, Adler suggests, is the potential for politics to impact the grant-award process.

No guarantees exist that the research money will produce the desired results, he says, and often, research breakthroughs can take longer as basic science builds from one small piece of the solution to another. Researchers are motivated by the grant structure to take on projects requiring research in long time frames, he said.

Prizes offer an incentive to design a proven solution. The award is given after the innovator has proven the solution works. Additionally, the design process is funded privately.

"Prizes are no panacea," he writes, but, he adds, they provide a comparatively low-cost way to encourage greater innovation.


Contact: Susan Griffith
Case Western Reserve University

Related biology news :

1. National Science Foundation grants Clemson professors award to develop nanoprobes
2. University professor stresses links between US Navy sonar and whale strandings
3. Minnesota ecology professor wins international award for biodiversity and biofuels research
4. NJIT professors research suggests changes in underwater data communications
5. 2 Alexander von Humboldt professorships go to LMU Munich
6. Top biophysics award to Professor Ray Norton
7. University of Leicester professor adds new perspective to rainforest debate
8. NJIT professor finds engineering technique to identify disease-causing genes
9. Chemistry professor 1 of only 3 at UH to achieve prestigious AAAS status
10. Florida professor creates endowment for insect scientists
11. Dinner, lecture series to honor legacy of distinguished UH professor
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/15/2016)... 15, 2016 Transparency Market ... Recognition Market by Application Market - Global Industry Analysis Size ... to the report, the  global gesture recognition market ... and is estimated to grow at a CAGR ... 2024.  Increasing application of gesture recognition ...
(Date:6/3/2016)... 3, 2016 Das ... Nepal hat ein 44 ... geprägter Kennzeichen, einschließlich Personalisierung, Registrierung und IT-Infrastruktur, ... Produktion und Implementierung von Identitätsmanagementlösungen. Zahlreiche renommierte ... Januar teilgenommen, aber Decatur wurde als konformste ...
(Date:6/1/2016)... , June 1, 2016 ... in Election Administration and Criminal Identification to Boost Global ... a recently released TechSci Research report, " Global Biometrics ... Region, Competition Forecast and Opportunities, 2011 - 2021", the ... billion by 2021, on account of growing security concerns ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/27/2016)... ... June 27, 2016 , ... Parallel 6 , the leading software as ... Clinical Reach Virtual Patient Encounter CONSULT module which enables both audio and video ... trial team. , Using the CONSULT module, patients and physicians can schedule a face ...
(Date:6/27/2016)... , June 27, 2016  Liquid Biotech ... the funding of a Sponsored Research Agreement with ... tumor cells (CTCs) from cancer patients.  The funding ... CTC levels correlate with clinical outcomes in cancer ... data will then be employed to support the ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... SAN DIEGO , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... that more sensitively detects cancers susceptible to PARP ... individual circulating tumor cells (CTCs). The new test ... of HRD-targeted therapeutics in multiple cancer types. ... therapies targeting DNA damage response pathways, including PARP, ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... Mosio, a leader ... “Clinical Trials Patient Recruitment and Retention Tips.” Partnering with experienced clinical research professionals, ... providing practical tips, tools, and strategies for clinical researchers. , “The landscape of ...
Breaking Biology Technology: