Clean and Competitive: Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturing Leadership in the Global-Low Carbon Economy

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Abstract: Industrial activities cause roughly 30 percent greenhouse gas emissions and their share is growing. Many of these emissions are hard to abate with current technologies, which poses an urgent challenge—but also an enormous opportunity. A surge in clean manufacturing innovation could strengthen America’s competitive position in the world economy if appropriate policies are adopted.

After making the general case for an integrated national strategy to address the twin challenges of bolstering its manufacturing sector and averting climate change, the talk will describe four industries that exemplify potential opportunities for U.S. competitive advantage in clean manufacturing. These industries—hydrogen production; heating, cooling, and drying equipment; chemicals production and recycling; and protein alternatives to meat and dairy products—have received less attention from the policy community than many others. The presentation will briefly explain why each industry matters, set out potential pathways to net-zero emissions, examine the comparative position of U.S. manufacturers, assess opportunities and gaps, and list policy recommendations.


  • Peter Fox-Penner et al., “Clean and Competitive: Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturing Leadership in the Global Low-Carbon Economy,” ITIF report in collaboration with Boston University Institute for Sustainable Energy and Fraunhofer USA Center for Manufacturing Innovation,” June 21, 2021 (link).


Bio: David M. Hart is Professor at the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University and senior fellow at the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), where he directs the clean energy innovation policy program. Prof. Hart is the co-author of Energizing America: A Roadmap to Launch a National Energy Innovation Mission (Columbia University Center for Global Energy Policy, September 2020) and Unlocking Energy Innovation (MIT Press, 2012). His recent work with ITIF includes “Clean and Competitive: Opportunities for U.S. Manufacturing Leadership in the Global Low-Carbon Economy” (June 2021, co-authored), “Building Back Cleaner With Industrial Decarbonization Demonstration Projects,” (March 2021), and “The Impact of China’s Production Surge on Innovation in the Global Solar Photovoltaics Industry” (October 2020). Prof. Hart co-chairs the Innovation Policy Forum at the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. He served as senior associate dean of the Schar School from 2013 to 2015 and as assistant director for innovation policy at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) from 2011 to 2012. His other books include The Emergence of Entrepreneurship Policy (Cambridge University Press, 2003), and Forged Consensus:  Science, Technology, and Economic Policy in the U.S., 1929-1953 (Princeton University Press, 1998). He received his Ph.D. from MIT in 1995.