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Developing renewable energy resources may be the best way to address environmental sustainability concerns in the long term. In this university podcast, Haas School professor Severin Borenstein argues that to have a significant impact in the energy market, any renewable alternative must be scalable. He discusses how this may, however, paradoxically drive down the price of fossil fuels, thereby creating a bigger problem than policy makers have realized. He suggests where policy interventions should be focused so as to pave the way for the greater appeal of renewable technologies. He also calls for more support of basic research that focuses on making low-emission sources the least expensive form of energy. Carl Pope, chairman of the Sierra Club, and Nancy Ryan, commissioner of CPUC, respond. Borenstein was talking at the 2010 Climate Policy Instruments in the Real World conference, an event convened by the Program on Energy and Sustainable Development (PESD) at Stanford University.
Energy is central to many causes that funders care about, but it is one of the most underappreciated issues in 21st-century philanthropy.