The CCTP will presumably continue to have purview over technological development related to improving energy efficiency and conservation in the building sector, and developing technologies and infrastructure for energy production, distribution, and carbon capture and storage (CCTP, 2006). But the success of such efforts will hinge not only on technological advancements, but also on public understanding and acceptance, and on the development of efficient, streamlined regulatory practices. These sorts of research questions (grounded primarily in the social, economic, political sciences) need to have a clear home in either the USGCRP, the CCTP, or linked programs in both.
The ACC reports offer numerous additional examples of research questions for advancing the science of adaptation and mitigation (see Box 3). While some prioritization among those many research questions is likely necessary, it would be helpful for the Plan to include at least this level of detail and to explain how the Program will begin developing the selected research areas.
Examples of Research Needs for Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation
Given the breadth of societal actors and economic sectors that are affected by mitigation and adaptation efforts, there are, accordingly, a wide array of research questions that need to be explored. The following are suggestions of key research needs from ACC Advancing the Science of Climate Change (NRC, 2010a).
Examples of Research Needs Related to Limiting the Magnitude of Climate Change:
• Advance the development, deployment, and adoption of energy and transportation technologies that reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
• Develop and evaluate strategies for promoting the use of less-emission-intensive modes of transportation.
• Characterize and quantify the contributions of urban areas to both local and global changes in climate, and develop and test approaches for limiting these contributions.
• Continue to support efforts to improve energy efficiency in all sectors and develop a better understanding of the obstacles to improved efficiency.
• Improve understanding of behavioral and sociological factors related to the adoption of new technologies, policies, and practices.
• Develop integrated approaches for evaluating energy services in a systems context that accounts for a broad range of societal and environmental concerns, including climate change.
• Develop and improve technologies, management strategies, and institutions to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture, while maintaining or enhancing food production potential.
• Assess the potential of land, freshwater, and ocean ecosystems to increase net uptake of CO2 (and other greenhouse gases) and develop approaches that take advantage of this potential without major adverse consequences.
• Improve understanding of links between air quality and climate change and develop strategies that can limit the magnitude of climate change while improving air quality.