Analysis & Opinions - Science

Support for Climate Policy Researchers

| Dec. 15, 2022

In the past 2 years, the European Union and the United States announced plans to spend $573 and $391 billion, respectively, through 2030 on climate actions1 and passed landmark legislation such as the US Inflation Reduction Act.2 Although unprecedented in size and scope, these combined investments of $964 billion pale in comparison to the more than $4 trillion in global clean energy investment needed annually by 2030 to stay on track for net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.3 To maximize the impact of this public money, efficient policies informed by independent, objective analysis will be needed. Yet scientists who commit to policy-relevant research face unique challenges that must be addressed.

Beyond infrastructure, meeting climate goals requires investing in researchers, many of whom will likely spend their entire careers analyzing clean energy technology and policy rollouts,4 assessing their impacts on society, and advising on needed course corrections. This community must include early-career scholars who are essential to tackling the protracted, multi-decadal challenges posed by climate change. Academia can be the wellspring for this research community, but institutions must recognize the barriers they impose on interdisciplinary, applied, policy-focused research.

[1] “Climate mainstreaming,” European Commission (2021);….
[2] “CBO scores IRA with $238 billion of deficit eduction,” Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (2022);
[3] International Energy Agency, “Net Zero by 2050: A roadmap for the global energy system” (2021).
[4] R. Hanna, D. G. Victor, Nature Energy 6, 568 (2021).
For more information on this publication: Belfer Communications Office
For Academic Citation: Hanna, Ryan, Eugenie Dugoua, Alejandro Nuñez-Jimenez, Destenie Nock, Stephanie Arcusa, Sergio Castellanos, Michael Davidson, Morgan Edwards, Clara Galeazzi, Xue Gao, Michelle Graff, Kathleen Kennedy, Eleftheria Kontou, Priyank Lathwal, Mirko Musa, Eric O'Rear, Sivaranjani Seetharaman, Jingjing Zhang and Qianru Zhu.“Support for Climate Policy Researchers.” Science, December 15, 2022.

The Authors