Climate Change 2001: Mitigation

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Gaps in Knowledge

24. Advances have been made since previous IPCC assessments in the understanding of the scientific, technical, environmental, and economic and social aspects of mitigation of climate change. Further research is required, however, to strengthen future assessments and to reduce uncertainties as far as possible in order that sufficient information is available for policy making about responses to climate change, including research in developing countries.

The following are high priorities for further narrowing gaps between current knowledge and policy making needs:

  • Further exploration of the regional, country and sector specific potentials of technological and social innovation options. This includes research on the short, medium and long-term potential and costs of both CO2 and non-CO2, non-energy mitigation options; understanding of technology diffusion across different regions; identifying opportunities in the area of social innovation leading to decreased greenhouse gas emissions; comprehensive analysis of the impact of mitigation measures on carbon flows in and out of the terrestrial system; and some basic inquiry in the area of geo-engineering.
  • Economic, social and institutional issues related to climate change mitigation in all countries. Priority areas include: analysis of regionally specific mitigation options and barriers; the implications of equity assessments; appropriate methodologies and improved data sources for climate change mitigation and capacity building in the area of integrated assessment; strengthening future research and assessments, especially in the developing countries.
  • Methodologies for analysis of the potential of mitigation options and their cost, with special attention to comparability of results. Examples include: characterizing and measuring barriers that inhibit greenhouse gas-reducing action; making mitigation modelling techniques more consistent, reproducible, and accessible; modelling technology learning; improving analytical tools for evaluating ancillary benefits, e.g. assigning the costs of abatement to greenhouse gases and to other pollutants; systematically analyzing the dependency of costs on baseline assumptions for various greenhouse gas stabilization scenarios; developing decision analytical frameworks for dealing with uncertainty as well as socio-economic and ecological risk in climate policy making; improving global models and studies, their assumptions and their consistency in the treatment and reporting of non-Annex I countries and regions.
  • Evaluating climate mitigation options in the context of development, sustainability and equity. Examples include: exploration of alternative development paths, including sustainable consumption patterns in all sectors, including the transportation sector; integrated analysis of mitigation and adaptation; identifying opportunities for synergy between explicit climate policies and general policies promoting sustainable development; integration of intra- and inter-generational equity in climate change mitigation analysis; implications of equity assessments; analysis of scientific, technical and economic implications of options under a wide variety of stabilization regimes.

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