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Within the planning framework of vision, mission, goals, approaches, and portfolio investment principles, CCTP's prioritization process applies four criteria.
Although the planning process is not easily reduced to quantitative analysis due, in part, to the large number of variables and uncertainties associated with the nature of the climate change technology challenge and, in part, to CCTP's century-long planning horizon, nevertheless, these prioritization criteria discussed above will be applied by the participating agencies to the maximum extent practicable and augmented by inputs from various sources.
Criterion 1: Maximizing Expected Return on Investment
R&D investments that have the prospect to generate maximum expected benefits per dollar of investment receive priority in investment planning. Benefits are defined with respect to expected contributions to the attainment of CCTP goals, particularly GHG reductions, but also include other considerations, such as cost-effectiveness, improved productivity, and reduction of other pollutants. Climate change benefits are long-term public goods. Discount rates must be appropriate to the context, particularly when applied to very long-term impacts. This criterion includes considerations of development and deployment risks, and the hedging of risks across multiple projects. Projects with high risk, but low emissions-reduction potential should be removed from the CCTP R&D portfolio.
Criterion 2: Acknowledging the Proper and Distinct Roles for the Public and Private Sectors
The CCTP portfolio recognizes that some R&D is the proper purview of the private sector; other R&D may be best performed jointly through public-private partnerships; and still other R&D may be best performed by the Federal sector alone. In cases where public support of R&D is warranted, technology development and adoption require cooperation and engagement with the private sector. History demonstrates that early involvement in technology R&D by the business community increases the probability of commercialization. A key consideration in the investment process is the means for engaging the talents of the private sector using innovative and effective approaches.
Criterion 3: Focusing on Technology with Large-Scale Potential
The scope, scale, and magnitude of the climate change challenge suggest that relatively small, incremental improvements in existing technologies will not enable full achievement of CCTP goals.
Every technology option has limits of various kinds. Such limits need to be identified, explored, and understood early in the planning process. Technology options should be adaptable on a global scale and have a clear path to commercialization. High-priority investments, including exploratory research, will focus on technology options that could, if successful, result in large mitigation contributions, accumulated over the span of the 21st century.
Nevertheless, technologies expected to have limited impact on overall GHG emissions may still be given priority if they can deliver reductions earlier in the century and/or are particularly cost-compelling.
Criterion 4: Sequencing R&D Investments in a Logical, Developmental OrderSupporting a robust and diversified portfolio does not mean that all technology options must be supported simultaneously, or that all must proceed at an accelerated pace. Investments must be logically sequenced over time. Logical sequencing of R&D investments takes into account (i) the expected times when different technologies may need to be made available and cost-effective, (ii) the need for early resolution of critical uncertainties, and (iii) the need to demonstrate early success or feasibility of technologies upon which other technology advancements may be based.