U.S. Department of Energy Office of Biological and Environmental Research

BER Research Highlights

A special session on the role of energy technology was conducted at the recent meeting of the Conference of the Parties (CPO-6) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change in The Hague, The Netherlands, on November 20.
Published: December 07, 2000
Posted: August 03, 2001

The special session was exceptionally well attended--standing room only. It was chaired by Ambassador Richard Benedick, and included leaders such as John Ashton, UK Foreign Office, presented by Jae Edmonds, PNNL, and the subject of a roundtable discussion featuring John Weyant, Stanford University; Ogunlade Davidson, Cape Town University; David Hawkins, Natural Resources Defense Council; and Dale Heydlauff, American Electric Power. The special session presented the results of the first three years of work undertaken under the Global Energy Technology Strategy Program to Address Climate Change (GTSP). The program is lead by PNNL, advised by an international steering group with representatives from the public, private, academic, and NGO communities, and conducted by a suite of international researchers. The Office of Science combines with the Office of Fossil Energy to help support GTSP, and the Office of Science supports, through the Integrated Assessment Research Program, the underlying models and data that guide the GTSP.

The message of the session was that the climate problem is at its heart an energy technology problem. Energy, its production, transformation and use, is the single largest source of greenhouse gas emissions. Despite substantial improvements in energy technology, global emissions of greenhouse gases continue to rise and if present trends continue, can be expected to rise for the foreseeable future. Because fundamental change will be needed over the entire course of this century, a portfolio of energy R&D will be needed to provide the technologies required in the future. (Today's energy technologies are the dividends of prior energy R&D investments.) That portfolio must be broad to cover the wide range of energy applications, international technology needs, and to allow for our inability to predict precisely which scientific and technological developments will ultimately prove most important. The investments must cover the breadth of R&D
investments ranging from support of basic sciences to the development of technologies and engage both the public and private sectors.

Contact: John Houghton, SC-74, 3-8288
Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Earth and Environment Systems Data Management

Division: SC-23.1 Climate and Environmental Sciences Division, BER
      (formerly SC-74 Environmental Sciences Division, OBER)


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