On October 4, 1957, the Soviet Union launched Sputnik, the first man-made satellite-and Americans grew alarmed over what it could mean to loose the space race. In response, President Eisenhower created the Advanced Research Projects Agency, or ARPA, whose job was to invent the future of the United Sates national defense. Congress funded it a whopping $520M, or $5 billion in today’s dollars. After ARPA’s space work was transferred to NASA, its scientists and engineers turned to electronics miniaturization and finding new ways to communicate if the phone lines went down. Eventually they came up with ARPANET, the 1960s precursor to the internet. ARPA is perhaps the most famous example-but by no means the only one-of how government-backed research can spark innovation and lead to enormous, sometimes unexpected payoffs. Today if we synchronize the public, innovation and government it can lead to laying the groundwork for global net-zero targets.