The remainder of this chapter focuses on what we still need to know—what we need research to tell us—in order to optimize strategies to both reduce emissions and adapt to climate changes in energy supply and use.
Develop new energy technologies and implementation strategies. Numerous scientific and engineering disciplines will need to contribute to the development of energy technology options and their effective implementation. Some key areas include materials science, electrochemistry and catalysis, biological sciences, and social and behavioral sciences. For example, materials science research could lead to advanced materials that could increase efficiency and offer other improvements in energy use, while research into photochemistry could provide the basis for engineering systems that mimic photosynthesis at higher efficiencies and rates. Technology assessment and portfolio analysis methods based on sequential decision making and risk-management paradigms need to be improved to help better set research priorities. Environmental, behavioral, and institutional analyses are essential to address obstacles and avoid unintended negative consequences. Of particular importance will be assessments of economic and technical performance of new technologies as well as full life-cycle environmental impacts.
Develop improved understanding of behavioral impediments to adopting new technologies, at both individual and institutional levels. New methods and increased research efforts are needed to develop understanding of the determinants of consumer choice and institutional decision making. Factors such as market failures and hidden costs could have important consequences on energy use and adoption of new energy technologies. Understanding possible impediments, and developing behavioral and policy interventions that circumvent them at both the individual and institutional level, are critical to rapid adjustments in energy consumption
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