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Thematic Guide to Integrated Assessment Modeling



Technical progress and climatic change

Jesse H. Ausubel
Director, Program for the Human Environment, The Rockefeller University, NR 403, 1230 York Avenue, New York, NY 10021-6399, USA

The global warming debate has neglected and thus underestimated the importance of technical change in considering reduction in greenhouse gases and adaptation to climate change. Relevant quantitative cases of long-run technical change during the past 100 years are presented in computing, communications, transport, energy, and agriculture. A noteworthy technological trajectory is that of decarbonization, or decreasing carbon intensity of primary energy. If human societies have not yet reached the end of the history of technology, the cost structure for mitigation and adaptation changes could be cheap.

Keywords: Technical progress; Technological trajectories; Climate change mitigation and adaptation



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