IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Working Group III: Mitigation of Climate Change

Technology research, development, diffusion and transfer

Investment in energy technology R&D has declined overall since the levels achieved in the late 1970s that resulted from the oil crisis. Between 1980 and 2002, public energy-related R&D investment declined by 50% in real terms. Current levels have risen, but may still be inadequate to develop the technologies needed to reduce GHG emissions and meet growing energy demand. Greater public and private investment will be required for rapid deployment of low-carbon energy technologies. Improved energy conversion technologies, energy transport and storage methods, load management, co-generation and community-based services will have to be developed (high agreement, limited evidence) [4.5.6].

Long-term outlook

Outlooks from both the IEA and World Energy Council project increases in primary energy demand of between 40 and 150% by 2050 over today’s demand, depending on the scenarios for popu-lation and economic growth and the rate of technology development. Electricity use is expected to grow by between 110 and 260%. Both organizations realize that business-as-usual scenarios are not sustainable. It is well accepted that even with good decision-making and co-operation between the public and private sectors, the necessary transition will take time and the sooner it is begun the lower the costs will be (high agreement, much evidence) [4.2.3].