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Clean Tech Could Disappear — But It Doesn't Have to

Funding for clean tech is plummeting. But there may be a way to get the industry on a path toward total independence from government.


Last year, the clean tech industry was on a roll. Solar was booming. Wind was expanding. Electric cars were rolling out onto the street. Regular cars were starting to use gas more efficiently. Biofuel companies were edging away from corn.

That success was in large part due to the support the federal government had thrown behind clean tech. The federal government is set to spend $150.8 billion on clean tech from 2009 to 2014, three times as much as it threw the sector between 2002 and 2008, according to a new report from a triad of think tanks. But that money is going away. Funding this year is at $16.1 billion, down from $44.3 billion in 2009, and is on pace to dwindle to next to nothing. Here’s the dramatic visual, courtesy of the report from the Brooking Institution, World Resources Institute and The Breakthrough Institute:

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Ways to Better Spend $4 Billion Per Year in Oil Subsidies

Here are three ways we could better our Big Oil subsidies. Except these ideas would actually ease pain at the pump and save Americans money.

For the last three years, President Obama has proposed eliminating $4 billion in subsidies and tax breaks to oil companies in his budget. Every year, Congress has ignored the proposal.

Last week, the idea got a bit more traction, as the big five oil companies all announced massive first quarter profits (while gasoline hovers around $4 per gallon), and even some Republican leaders are paying the idea of cutting subsidies some lip service. Of course, most members of Congress receive so much funding from the oil companies that they'll make comments like Sarah Palin's: that $4 billion is a "drop in the bucket" and not worth eliminating.

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Sarah Palin, Tea Partier in Name Only, Defends Big Oil Subsidies

Sarah Palin thinks that $4 billion is "just a drop in the bucket." Would her Tea Party supporters agree?

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gIr1Kp05PQ

Buried in the odd poetry of Sarah Palin's live commentary on oil subsidies is this bombshell:

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The Food Gods Speak: Michael Pollan and Eric Schlosser Dish About Walmart, National Security, and Chicken Nuggets

When Pollan last ate a chicken nugget, whether Schlosser thinks that Walmart's new healthy food initiatives are for real, and what you and I can do.

Last week, food movement legends Michael Pollan (The Omnivore's Dilemma, In Defense of Food) and Eric Schlosser (Fast Food Nation) sat down together with Evan Kleiman, host of KCRW's Good Food, for a fascinating conversation that covered all of the major food stories of the past few months. For those of you who couldn't make it in person, but want to know when Pollan last ate a chicken nugget, whether Schlosser thinks that Walmart's new healthy food initiatives are for real, and what they think are the most important things you and I can do to make a difference right now, here's my recap of the highlights.

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Dietary Supplements: Tuesday, February 15

Dietary Supplements is a daily roundup of what we're reading at GOOD Food HQ. Today we're serving up calories, subsidies, and fig spread. Enjoy!


We're all anticipating mandatory calorie counting, but new research has cast even more doubt on the value of calorie labeling at food food joints.

Meanwhile, if we're tricked into choosing apples over candy bars because of the "unit effect," then shouldn't we label all food energy as Joules (instead of calories)?

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What If Solar Were Subsidized Like Oil?

Finally, a useful graphic about fossil fuel versus solar subsidies. From our friends at One Block Off the Grid.

Finally, a useful graphic about fossil fuel versus solar subsidies. From our friends at One Block Off the Grid.

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