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The National Academies Summit on America’s Energy Future: Summary of a Meeting
more detailed assessments of how climate will and could change and the consequences of change.
Second, much more analysis is needed regarding technologies expected to be available during the second half of the 21st century. Because relatively little is known now about such technologies, debates over how to reduce emissions by 50 or 80 percent by 2050 are taking place without a proper analytic framework. “What does it all look like?” asked Davis. “You can talk about bits and pieces. We need an integrated assessment of what those pathways are like.”
Improving modeling capabilities will contribute to the development of strategies that involve energy technology choices and efforts to develop new technology options. In these efforts, independent advice from groups like the National Academies will be absolutely essential, according to Davis. Assessments of energy issues need to be fair, rigorous, and peer reviewed. Conclusions need to be strategically relevant and innovative. They need to generate options, clarify decision making, and ease the process of moving forward.
The nexus of energy and the environment poses an extraordinary challenge, said Davis. Responding to this challenge will require a societal transformation that will take place across generations. “These things never happen in straight lines,” said Davis, “and they require immense courage. Not just of political leaders. That courage can come from anywhere, in any context.”