Conclusions

Stabilizing climate will require massive changes in the design and operation of the energy system, in the management of forests and agriculture, and in several other important human activities. Yet we do not currently have sufficient knowledge to efficiently and effectively make the changes necessary to stabilize climate at acceptable levels.

A portfolio of options is required because no single technology or approach will be sufficient, although over time specific options may assume dominant roles. The development of expanded use of conservation and renewables is important, as is fossil-fuel carbon capture and sequestration. The suggestion that just one of these options could solve the entire problem, however, fails to recognize technical and economic realities. Furthermore, desirable portfolio options will vary by location. A failure to adopt a portfolio approach runs the risk of delaying implementation and dramatically increasing the cost of controls.

Technologies and approaches for achieving stabilization will not arise automatically through market forces. Markets can effectively convert knowledge into working solutions, but the needed knowledge can only be developed with dramatically larger investments in basic technology research, in efforts to understand consequences of new energy systems, and in efforts to understand ecosystem processes.

The technical community must provide leadership in a wide-ranging search for options. Incomplete expert or public understanding or short-term political or business agendas cannot be allowed to short-circuit the search for promising solutions. This search must include pilot experiments to gain hands-on experience with many different technologies and approaches. This approach would enable creation of essential skills and experience needed to develop systems of energy production and use to develop land management options, and to promote climate stabilization and vigorous economic growth.

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