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Updated 16 September 2005

Vision and Framework for Strategy and Planning
Published August 2005


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1.The United States ratified the UNFCCC on October 15, 1992, and it entered into force for the United States on March 21, 1994. The United States is not a party to the related Kyoto Protocol.

2. Greenhouse gases (GHGs) are gases in the Earth’s atmosphere that may affect the atmosphere’s energy balance and contribute to long-term climate change. The most important GHG that arises from human activities is carbon dioxide (CO2), resulting mainly from the oxidation of carbon-containing fuels, materials or feedstocks; cement manufacture; or other chemical or industrial processes. Other GHGs include methane from landfills, mining, agricultural production, and natural gas systems; nitrous oxide (N2O) from industrial and agricultural activities; fluorine-containing halogenated substances (e.g., HFCs, PFCs); sulfur hexafluoride (SF6); and other GHGs from industrial sources. Gases falling under the purview of the Montreal Protocol are excluded from this definition of GHGs.

3. Intensity means emissions per unit of economic output. See White House Fact Sheet on Climate Change.

4. See

5. See

6. See

7. See

8. See Fact Sheet: USDA Targeted Incentives for Greenhouse Gas Sequestration.

9. White House Rose Garden speech. The Initiative was a significant step in implementing a recommendation approved by the President in May 2001 as part of the National Energy Policy, which called for the President to “direct federal agencies to support continued research into global climate change; continue efforts to identify environmentally and cost-effective ways to use market mechanisms and incentives; continue development of new technologies; and cooperate with allies, including through international processes, to develop technologies, market-based incentives, and other innovative approaches to address the issue of global climate change.”

10. See

11. See

12. The National Research Council (NRC) is the operating arm of the National Academies, which consists of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, and the Institutes of Medicine.

13. National Research Council, Climate Change Science: An Analysis of Some Key Questions, Committee on the Science of Climate Change (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 2001): 20-21.

14. See

15. National Research Council, Implementing Climate and Global Change Research: A Review of the Final U.S. Climate Change Science Program Strategic Plan (Washington, DC: National Academies Press 2004).


17. See

18. For example, see Battelle, . Global Energy Technology Strategy: Addressing Climate Change [PDF] (Washington, DC: Battelle, 2000) and Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Special Report on Emissions Scenarios [PDF] (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000).

19. Both documents are available at

20. Radiative forcing is a measure of the overall net energy balance in the Earth’s atmosphere. It is zero when all energy flows in and out of the atmosphere are in balance, or equal. If there is a change in forcing, either positive or negative, it is usually expressed in terms of watts per square meter (W/m2), averaged over the surface of the Earth. When it is positive, there is a net “force” toward warming, even if the warming itself may be slowed or delayed by other factors, such as the heat-absorbing capacity of the oceans or the energy absorption needed for the melting of natural ice sheets.

21. See

22. ITER, International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor

23. Except for experimental activities in trading GHGs, mostly outside of the United States, there is currently no market or regulatory system that anticipates and internalizes the potential global costs of GHG emissions or the benefits of various courses of mitigating actions. Should such a market develop, it would better signal the professional attractiveness of careers in related fields.

24. Federal Climate Change Expenditures Report to Congress [PDF] (March 2005).

25. Shell, Energy Needs, Choices and Possibilities – Scenarios to 2050. (Shell International Ltd-Global Business Environment Unit, 2001).

26. NAS, Our Common Journey: A Transition toward Sustainability. (Washington, DC: National Academy Press, 1999).

27. Fuelling the Future – A Report by the Energy Futures Task Force [PDF], (Foresight Programme – Office of Science and Technology, United Kingdom Department of Trade and Industry, 2000).

28. Energy for Tomorrow: Powering the 21st Century [PDF] (Foresight Programme. Office of Science and Technology. United Kingdom Department of Trade and Industry, 2001).

29. Canada 2050, Four Long Term Scenarios for Canada’s Energy Future, (Energy Technology Futures, Natural Resources Canada, 2000).

30. Energy 2050 – Risky Business [PDF] (Conches, Switzerland: World Business Council for Sustainable Development, Scenario Unit, 1999).

31. Longer Term Energy and Environment Scenarios ( Paris: International Energy Agency Standing Group on Long-Term Co-Operation [IEA/SLT], 2002).

32. IPCC, A Special Report on Emissions Scenarios for Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2000). The scenarios presented herein are referred to as “SRES” scenarios. [see Summary for Policymakers]

33. IPCC, Climate Change 2001: Mitigation: A Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) (Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press, 2001).

34. “Bio-X” employs combinations of biotechnology, genetic engineering, and nanoscience. It includes novel approaches to the production of hydrogen and other clean fuels, energy carriers and storage media; the production of electricity from bio-sources, the production of biobased alternatives to industrial processes and feedstocks, and bio-processes for carbon dioxide capture and permanent sequestration. Bio-X applications are distinctly different from current energy applications referred to as biofuels, bioenergy or biomass.

35. M. Placet, K.K. Humphreys, and N.M. Mahasenan, Climate Change Technology Scenarios: Energy, Emissions and Economic Implications (Washington, DC: Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, August 2004).

36. The figure shows the cumulative contributions between 2000 and 2100 to the reduction, avoidance, capture/ storage and sequestration of greenhouse gas emissions under the three Advanced Technology Scenarios, based on varying emissions constrained cases. The thick bars show the contribution under the high emission constraint and the thinner, semi-transparent bars show the variation in the contribution between a very high emissions constraint and a low emissions constraint. “Energy End-use” includes emission reductions due to energy efficiency measures. “Energy Supply” includes emissions reductions from the substitution of non-fossil energy supply technologies with low or zero CO2 emissions for fossil-based power generation without capture and storage of CO2. “Sequestration” includes carbon capture and storage from fossil-based technologies, as well as terrestrial sequestration.

37. In this context, “research, development, demonstration, and deployment activities” is defined as: applied research; technology development and demonstration, including prototypes, scale-ups, and full-scale plants; technical activities in support of research objectives, including instrumentation, observation and monitoring equipment and systems; research and other activities undertaken in support of technology deployment, including research on codes and standards, safety, regulation, and on understanding factors affecting commercialization and deployment; sup-porting basic research addressing technical barriers to progress; activities associated with program direction; and activities such as voluntary partnerships, technical assistance/capacity building, and technology demonstration programs that directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the near and long term.


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