Technology has long powered human progress, and remains central to global development. In the decades ahead, developing and deploying clean energy, low carbon technologies will also play a crucial role in countering perhaps the biggest global threat of our times: climate change.
Our ability to deploy effective technologies, on a scale large enough to significantly reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, depends on two key factors: the direction, and the pace, of technological innovation. The direction of technological innovation, to a large extent, is contingent on a balanced, technology-neutral approach to energy policy (Weiss and Bonvillian, 2009; Diazanadon, etc. 2009). The pace of technological innovation, on the other hand, depends on a range of factors including, critically, the presence of effective domestic policies to spur research and innovation. Such policies will be particularly important in major developing countries whose emissions are accelerating and which lack the long established research and development (R&D) infrastructure of industrialized countries.