Cost-effective opportunities exist today for starting the world on a path toward lower emissions—and there are a number of emerging technologies that hold enormous promise for delivering substantial emission reductions in the future. The successful development of these technologies will require substantial new investments in research, incentives for producers and consumers, and emission reduction requirements that drive innovation. Governments at all levels need to encourage short-term action to reduce emissions while laying the groundwork for a longer-term technology revolution.
Achieving the 50- to 80-percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say is needed to avoid the worst effects of climate change will not be easy. It will require action across all sectors of the economy, from electricity and transportation to agriculture.