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Global climate change is a major, long-term energy and environmental challenge that may require a fundamental change in the way we produce and use energy in the 21st century. President Bush is committed to taking bold action to galvanize an energy technology revolution that will provide the energy we need for sustained economic growth, while substantially reducing emissions of greenhouse gases (GHG).
This report, U.S. Climate Change Technology Program: Research and Current Activities, reflects the new approach to climate change the United States (U.S.) is taking under President Bush's leadership. The report highlights some of the Bush Administration's actions and profiles a number of promising, cutting-edge technologies found in today's robust U.S. climate change technology portfolio. A companion report, Technology Options for the Near and Long Term, provides a more complete list of the technologies in the portfolio.
The U.S. is the undisputed global leader in technology and innovation. The U.S. has achieved this distinction due to its entrepreneurial spirit and unrivaled national investment in research and development (R&D). President Bush has great faith in American innovation and recognizes that targeted R&D investments are crucial to strengthening our ability to meet the climate change challenge. Accordingly, President Bush's approach to climate change - backed by unprecedented R&D investments in key areas -- emphasizes both long and short-term technology solutions informed by vigorous scientific knowledge.
The May 2001 National Energy Policy: Report of the National Energy Policy Development Group provides the policy context for President Bush's climate change approach. The report outlines policies to enhance energy security while reducing GHG emissions and recommends aggressively developing alternative fuels and hydrogen, advancing carbon sequestration technologies, and promoting energy efficiency and renewable energy.
Based on the National Energy Policy's recommendations, President Bush announced in June 2001 his commitment to developing science-based climate change policy and targeting "breakthrough technologies." By stimulating American innovation with strong investments in key areas of the Federal R&D portfolio, President Bush is positioning the U.S. as a world leader in pursuit of energy technologies that can meet the climate change challenge. The approach is to focus and prioritize Federal investments, while ensuring that a balanced portfolio of technology options is pursued.
President Bush committed the largest Federal budget for climate change activities in his FY 2004 proposed budget - more than $4 billion for climate change-related energy R&D, outreach activities, and targeted tax credits to encourage deployment of energy efficient and low-carbon energy technologies. Moreover, he launched a number of bold new climate change initiatives, enhanced international collaboration, and established the first Cabinet-level climate change management structure. Major Administration actions include:
Interagency Climate Change Initiatives:
On June 11, 2001, President Bush initiated two complementary research efforts [PDF]: a science-focused Climate Change Research Initiative (CCRI), and a technology-focused National Climate Change Technology Initiative (NCCTI). The NCCTI was chartered to:
New Management Structure:
In January 2002, President Bush established a new Cabinet-level management structure, the Committee on Climate Change Science and Technology Integration (CCCSTI), to guide and oversee his Administration's climate change activities. The President directed Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham and Commerce Secretary Donald Evans to lead the CCCSTI. The CCCSTI is chartered to provide recommendations to the President on climate change science and technology and address funding and implementation issues related to the Administration's climate change initiatives.
U.S. Climate Change Strategy:
President Bush unveiled his Administration's new climate change approach on February 14, 2002. The goal of the President's climate change strategy is to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas intensity -- how much we emit per unit of economic activity -- by 18 percent over the next 10 years. This will set the U.S. on a path to slow the growth of GHG emissions and, as science justifies, to stop and then reverse the growth of emissions. To reach this goal, several near-term actions were outlined including: improvements in the Federal GHG reduction registry; fuel economy increase for light trucks; tax incentives for renewable energy and hybrid and fuel-cell vehicles; Energy Star and encouraging voluntary actions by industry to reduce emissions. Key to achieving voluntary reductions are: Climate VISION (Voluntary Innovative Sector Initiatives: Opportunities Now), a multi-agency public-private partnership engaged with the major, energy-intensive sectors of the American economy to reduce emissions while sustaining strong economic growth, and Climate Leaders, a public-private partnership encouraging individual companies to develop long-term, comprehensive climate change strategies.
Interagency Working Group on Climate Change:
In July 2002, the Secretaries of Agriculture, Commerce and Energy, and the Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), reported that the CCCSTI was operational and included a Deputy-level Interagency Working Group with direct oversight over two new multi-agency R&D coordination mechanisms:
U.S. Climate Change Science Program (CCSP):
The President established the U.S. Climate Change Science Program in 2002 as part of a new cabinet-level management structure to oversee public investments in climate change science. The new management structure also included the Climate Change Technology Program, which is summarized below. The CCSP incorporates the U.S. Global Change Research Program and the Climate Change Research Initiative established by the President in 2001. The Program coordinates and integrates scientific research on global change and climate change sponsored by 13 participating departments and agencies of the U.S. government. In July 2003, the CCSP released its strategic plan.
U.S. Climate Change Technology Program (CCTP):
Working closely with the CCSP, the CCTP's goal is to accelerate the development and deployment of key technologies that may achieve substantial GHG emissions reductions and to promote voluntary reductions in GHG emissions. (CCTP's website is located at www.climatetechnology.gov.) The CCTP coordinates climate technology R&D activities across all of the relevant Federal agencies. The CCTP is currently:
The work of the CCTP will help identify a number of the most promising technologies that may achieve these goals and will ultimately be included in the President's NCCTI. While the current level of investment is robust, it must be continually focused and targeted to meeting our goals.
For example, President Bush and DOE Secretary Spencer Abraham have already announced the following major technology initiatives in 2003 alone:
Hydrogen Fuel Initiative:
President Bush launched the Nation's first comprehensive hydrogen initiative during his State of the Union Address on January 28, 2003, and committed $1.2 billion over five years for the Initiative. Together with the FreedomCAR Initiative, a partnership of major U.S. automakers, the Hydrogen Fuel Initiative will facilitate commercialization of hydrogen-powered fuel cell vehicles and hydrogen infrastructure technologies by 2015. The National Hydrogen Energy Roadmap [PDF], announced by Secretary Abraham in November 2002, outlines specific research objectives for this Initiative.
International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy (IPHE):
Secretary Abraham announced the International Partnership for the Hydrogen Economy on April 28, 2003, at the International Energy Agency Ministerial Meeting in Paris. The IPHE will coordinate international efforts to develop a hydrogen economy by facilitating collaborative R&D and common codes and standards for hydrogen fuel.
Secretary Abraham and Under Secretary of State for Global Affairs, Paula Dobriansky rolled out the first ministerial-level international organization for addressing carbon sequestration technologies and policy issues on February 27, 2003. CSLF is coordinating carbon capture and storage R&D with international partners and private industry.
Concurrent with the CSLF, the Bush Administration unveiled FutureGen, a $1 billion, 10-year public-private demonstration project to create the world's first coal-based, zero-emissions electricity and hydrogen power plant.
Targeted Incentives for Carbon Sequestration:
On June 6, 2003, Agriculture Secretary Ann Veneman announced for the first time consideration will be given to management practices that store carbon and reduce GHG emissions in setting priorities and implementing USDA's forest and agriculture conservation programs, such as the Environmental Quality Incentives Program and Conservation Reserve Program. USDA will provide financial incentives, technical assistance, demonstrations, pilot programs, education, and capacity building, along with measurements to assess the success of these efforts.
ITER will help answer tough questions about fusion power and advance both the science and technology of fusion by opening the way to a vast array of critical experiments. This experiment is a crucial element in the path forward to satisfying global energy demand and dramatically improving America's energy security while significantly reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
In pursuing these approaches to climate change, the U.S. is committed to working with other countries, especially developing countries, to build future prosperity along a cleaner and better path. The President's strategy promotes cooperative relationships so that international activities to address climate change are complementary. Many of our major technology initiatives are undertaken in partnerships with other countries. Since June 2001, the U.S. has engaged in bilateral partnerships with Australia, Canada, China, seven Central American countries (Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama), the European Union, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Republic of Korea, and the Russian Federation on issues ranging from climate change science to the Administration's technology initiatives to policy approaches.
While significant uncertainties remain with respect to our scientific understanding of the Earth's climate, we can act now to address the factors that may contribute to potential climate change. In the near-term, in order to enable continued economic growth and reduced emissions, the U.S. is vigorously pursuing a wide array of technology deployment, voluntary and outreach programs, tax incentives to encourage new technology adoption, and financial and technical assistance programs to promote energy efficiency [see Climate Change Fact Sheet. The Bush Administration's Actions on Global Climate Change, dtd 30 Sep 2003.]
For the longer-term, the U.S. is investing in a diverse portfolio of energy technologies with the potential to yield substantial reductions in emissions of GHGs. Given the considerable lead times for energy technology development, deployment and commercialization, investment in a diverse portfolio of technologies must be made today. The U.S. continues to be a leader in these investments. Indeed, some of the technologies highlighted in this report may bring about the type of energy revolution that can dramatically improve our global 21st century energy system, with significantly reduced GHG emissions as a result.