IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007
Climate Change 2007: Synthesis Report

5.5 Technology flows and development

There is high agreement and much evidence that all stabilisation levels assessed can be achieved by deployment of a portfolio of technologies that are either currently available or expected to be commercialised in coming decades, assuming appropriate and effective incentives are in place for development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of technologies and addressing related barriers. {WGIII SPM}

Worldwide deployment of low-GHG emission technologies as well as technology improvements through public and private RD&D would be required for achieving stabilisation targets as well as cost reduction.[32] Figure 5.2 gives illustrative examples of the contribution of the portfolio of mitigation options. The contribution of different technologies varies over time and region and depends on the baseline development path, available technologies and relative costs, and the analysed stabilisation levels. Stabilisation at the lower of the assessed levels (490 to 540ppm CO2-eq) requires early investments and substantially more rapid diffusion and commercialisation of advanced low-emissions technologies over the next decades (2000-2030) and higher contributions across abatement options in the long term (2000-2100). This requires that barriers to development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of technologies are effectively addressed with appropriate incentives. {WGIII 2.7, 3.3, 3.4, 3.6, 4.3, 4.4, 4.6, SPM}

Illustrative mitigation portfolios for achieving stabilisation of GHG concentrations

Figure 5.2

Figure 5.2 Cumulative emissions reductions for alternative mitigation measures for 2000-2030 (left-hand panel) and for 2000-2100 (right-hand panel). The figure shows illustrative scenarios from four models (AIM, IMAGE, IPAC and MESSAGE) aiming at the stabilisation at low (490 to 540ppm CO2-eq) and intermediate levels (650ppm CO2-eq) respectively. Dark bars denote reductions for a target of 650ppm CO2-eq and light bars denote the additional reductions to achieve 490 to 540ppm CO2-eq. Note that some models do not consider mitigation through forest sink enhancement (AIM and IPAC) or CCS (AIM) and that the share of low-carbon energy options in total energy supply is also determined by inclusion of these options in the baseline. CCS includes CO2 capture and storage from biomass. Forest sinks include reducing emissions from deforestation. The figure shows emissions reductions from baseline scenarios with cumulative emissions between 6000 to 7000 GtCO2-eq (2000-2100). {WGIII Figure SPM.9}

Without sustained investment flows and effective technology transfer, it may be difficult to achieve emission reduction at a significant scale. Mobilising financing of incremental costs of low-carbon technologies is important. {WGIII 13.3, SPM}

There are large uncertainties concerning the future contribution of different technologies. However, all assessed stabilisation scenarios concur that 60 to 80% of the reductions over the course of the century would come from energy supply and use and industrial processes. Including non-CO2 and CO2 land-use and forestry mitigation options provides greater flexibility and cost-effectiveness. Energy efficiency plays a key role across many scenarios for most regions and time scales. For lower stabilisation levels, scenarios put more emphasis on the use of low-carbon energy sources, such as renewable energy, nuclear power and the use of CO2 capture and storage (CCS). In these scenarios, improvements of carbon intensity of energy supply and the whole economy needs to be much faster than in the past (Figure 5.2). {WGIII 3.3, 3.4, TS.3, SPM}

  1. ^  By comparison, government funding in real absolute terms for most energy research programmes has been flat or declining for nearly two decades (even after the UNFCCC came into force) and is now about half of the 1980 level. {WGIII 2.7, 3.4, 4.5, 11.5, 13.2}