Energy and Sustainability Science: What have we learned? William C. Clark Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University Closing Panel remarks at the International Conference on Science and Technology for Sustainability 2003: Energy and Sustainability Science Science Council of Japan Tokyo, 16-19 December 2003 Sustainability Science and a transition toward Sustainable Energy Systems • Today’s trends in energy use are inconsistent with sustainable development… – globally (the climate challenge) – regionally (most of the world lacks reliable grid services; insecurity of energy states) – locally (cities / air pollution; fuel wood / deforestation) • Needed is action to promote a transition away from these unsustainable paths toward energy systems that enhance access to energy services by today’s poor, while drastically reducing multiple environmental and health impacts of energy use. • A transition beyond business-as-usual toward energy systems that support socially, economically and environmentally sustainable development is possible … – many possible population/economic scenarios – many possible technology mixes • Common requirement is knowledge to… – – – – – lower costs of delivering energy services lower energy intensity of economic activity lower emissions intensity of economic activity broaden range of energy options to deal with surprise assess the integrated consequences for environment and health of adopting alternative energy options • Conventional research is necessary but not sufficient to produce such knowledge • Creating usable knowledge that rapidly and reliably informs action also requires: – solution-driven research and innovation… – based on 2-way dialogue with stakeholders in civil society, business, government through which scientists learn what users need, users learn what scientists/ engineers can offer… – carried out close to the place or scale of application… but within an international knowledge system that draws cooperatively on the world heritage of science & technology. What can the science community do? • Emphasize need to address interdependence among development sectors, including energy; • Convene agenda-setting dialogues between researchers and stakeholders in development; • Value and honor solution-driven R&D on topics identified through those dialogues (an “Open Science Conference” for sustainability scientists?) • Support collaboration and capacity building with research organizations, networks in developing world… on terms reflecting their priorities.