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Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI): Research, Technology, and Related Programs

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Publication Date: October 2001

Publisher(s): Library of Congress. Congressional Research Service

Series: RL30452

Topic: Energy (Energy research and technology)


A major focus of efforts to address possible global climate change has been on energy use, given that carbon dioxide, the major “greenhouse gas,” is added to the atmosphere when fossil fuels are burned. Federal programs to increase energy efficiency and the use of renewable energy resources have a history that goes back well over two decades. While many of these efforts were aimed at reducing U.S. dependence on oil imports and addressing electricity needs, they also are relevant to environmental concerns, including climate change.

The Climate Change Technology Initiative (CCTI) was the Clinton Administration’s package of R&D (to develop renewable energy sources and more energy efficient technologies), targeted tax credits (to encourage purchase and deployment of more efficient technologies), and voluntary information programs (to help businesses and schools be better informed when making purchasing and operating decisions that involve energy use and emissions). These programs have been funded as described in this report for FY2001.

The CCTI was succeeded by the Bush Administration’s FY2002 budget request for programs which largely continue those of the CCTI (while not using that name), and the Bush Administration’s announcements of the Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI) and the National Climate Change Technology Initiative (NCCTI), which contain few specifics at present.

The FY2002 request for climate change funds was made in two main parts: $940 million for research and technology programs, and a 10-year $1.1 billion package of energy tax credits (the issue of tax credits is not covered in this CRS report; instead, see CRS Issue Brief IB10054 Energy Tax Policy). The climate change research and technology funding for the Department of Energy accounted for about 86.6% of the FY2002 request, for the Environmental Protection Agency 13% of the FY2002 request, and for the Department of Agriculture approximately 0.3% of the FY2002 request (please see IB10020 Energy Efficiency and IB10041 Renewable Energy for more details).

While the Clinton Administration’s budget requests for CCTI basic research activities generated little controversy, its requests for information and tax incentive programs were more controversial. Opponents argued that the renewable energy industry should have relied for commercial development on market forces rather than federal tax credits and information programs. Proponents held that the federal government needed to be involved to help overcome market barriers.

With details about the Bush Administration’s climate change initiatives still in development, some critics highlight the general decrease in funding for climate change research and technology, and some proponents note that many of the decreases are due to elimination of certain earmarked projects, or near-commercialization of certain research projects.