Working Group III: Mitigation

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5.6 Research Needs

The earlier chapters show a significant potential for GHG mitigation in energy and non-energy sectors. All types of barriers limit this potential. These barriers are specific to a technology, sector, and region, and they evolve over time. Research would be useful in several areas to collect data, establish databases, improve methods, and develop computerized models that would help decision makers to devise improved policies and measures to address these barriers:

  • What is the quantitative global and regional market potential for different categories of mitigation technologies? Chapters 3 and 4 note the technical and socioeconomic potential but a parallel quantitative estimate for market potential is yet to be developed. Data and models that explicitly incorporate barriers to achieving the market potential would be helpful.
  • What mix of barriers prevents the adoption of major mitigation technologies? Are social capital and related investment policies more or less important, and how might these vary across cultures and physical environments? What are the decision processes that foster technology transfer? Can technology transfer be managed such as to support sustainable and equitable development? The IPCC-SRTT provides one framework for a technology transfer process. Models of processes that reflect “real world” decision-making are needed, however, in order to identify and elaborate on the barriers that prevent or slow the diffusion of mitigation technologies. The models would also need to take alternative development pathways into consideration. An improved understanding of technology transfer both within and across countries would be required since the actors and barriers tend to be very different.
  • What is the appropriate role for stakeholders in the above decision-making processes? The roles of governments and other stakeholders change over time. This is particularly important in sectors where the social, cultural, institutional, and market context is changing rapidly. An identification of their emerging roles would help decision makers manage technology transfer better.
  • Does market globalization favour or hamper the diffusion of mitigation technologies? Does environmental regulation confer to firms and nations a long-term technological advantage? Market globalization offers opportunity to plant seeds of mitigation technologies that are less GHG intensive, but it could also bring about proliferation of polluting technologies. It is important to understand the ongoing processes and to determine ways to assist the transfer of less GHG-intensive technologies.

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