Cross Cutting R&D

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Global Gaps in Clean Energy Research, Development, and Demonstration

Current trends in energy supply and use are unsustainable‚ÄĒeconomically, environmentally, and socially. Without decisive action, energy-related emissions of CO2 will more than double by 2050 and increased energy demand will heighten concerns over the security of supplies. We can change this path, but it will take an energy revolution. Every major country and sector of the economy must be involved, and we must ensure that investment decisions taken now do not saddle us with sub-optimal technologies in the long run.

Work on low-carbon energy technologies is ongoing in a number of international forums. In particular, development and deployment of low-carbon technologies is an important topic in the Major Economies Forum (MEF) and under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC). At the request of the G8, the International Energy Agency (IEA) is also developing roadmaps for some of the most important low-carbon energy technologies, including information on how enhanced international collaboration can help advance individual technologies toward commercialization. However, there is a growing awareness of the urgent need to turn such political statements and analytical work into concrete action.

In July 2009, the MEF countries established a collective goal to expand international technology collaboration, with a focus on multiple specific energy technology areas.1 MEF countries called for increased global research, development and demonstration (RD&D) with a view towards doubling expenditures for low-carbon technologies by 2015.