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Jonathan Pershing, Testimony, U.S. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee

Exploring Greenhouse Gas Technologies

Highlights elements of a long-term solution to global climate change including shifts in technology, reliance on a portfolio of technological options, and the critical role of government.

Executive Summary

This is a critical time to discuss greenhouse gas mitigation technologies: science is telling us that action is urgently needed if we are to forestall the worst of climate change-related damages.

In Dr. Pershing's testimony, he highlights three main points, based on analysis by World Resources Institute and others:

  1. Perhaps the most important element of a long-term solution to global climate change rests on shifts in technology, especially for power generation and transport. Changes in government policy, business investments and consumer behavior are important because they offer a means to effect technology shifts.

  2. There is no single technology – no silver bullet – that can drive the scale of emissions reductions that are required; we must be prepared to rely on a portfolio of options. But there are many important and promising technologies – some ready today, and others on the verge of economic and technological breakthroughs – that have the capacity to reduce emissions cost-effectively.

  3. The government has a critical role to play, both in funding early stage research and development to cultivate new technologies, and even more importantly, in establishing price signals that are required to stimulate the markets and investment behavior that can pull new technologies at a sufficient rate and scale.

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