cost of offsets is likely to be highest at the times when their use would be most valuable. Thus she advocated that more research on uncertainty be done, particularly if we are going to move forward with offsets. She noted that, as pointed out in the session on offsets, there can be many political and technical uncertainties associated with offsets.
Steve Smith observed that although people might think that some of the more stringent climate targets are not realistic, to get even halfway to some of these targets will require a dramatic change from the historical trends in the energy system, which brings up a number of research questions. Smith noted that in the past energy-related technologies changed largely through market forces interacting with regulations. The scale and timing of the changes that are now contemplated are difficult to achieve in the real world, but the models represent that these changes occur very easily. Further, it was mentioned that the models tend to know prices but not costs. Smith noted that it is very difficult to pin down the costs for even some current technologies that are not mass-market technologies. A major research question for improving confidence is thus, When there are new technologies on the market that governments may be investing in, how do we make sure that we can be confident about the costs and performance of these new technologies?
John Weyant had two general reflections. The first was that he had expected a lot more discussion in the four different sessions about a “half-empty” glass and the approaches in all four areas being hopelessly misguided. Based on what he heard, he concluded that there is a lot to build on. Weyant’s second point concerned the desire to get all the “margins to line up perfectly” and to never depart from that world, which he regarded as a good discipline to impose. But Weyant noted that if we are looking for ways forward and barriers to break down and industries to reorganize and behavioral challenges to meet and regulations to reform, we have to go out for a while and develop the obvious energy efficiency programs that everyone would agree would pay off.