United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Science & Technology

Statement by the Scientific and Technological Community
Statement by the Scientific and Technological Community Major Group
3 May 2006
Mr. Chairman,
Quality of life is strongly related to available energy services. Meeting the world?s rapidly
growing energy demands will require utilizing a diverse mix of all available and feasible
energy sources and technologies. This includes fossil fuels, nuclear energy, renewables as
well as the need for energy conservation and efficiency. In fact it will require drastic ally
increasing the efficiency with which energy is converted, delivered and used.
Although energy technologies are rapidly developing, it is widely acknowledged that existing
solutions are not yet sufficient for meeting the world?s growing energy needs in a sustainable
manner. Much more work will be needed for a new generation of clean technologies for heat,
fuels, and electricity to reach the mainstream market. These advancements must be supported
with great urgency.
Some examples of important energy R&D topics are: In the field of photovoltaics, achieving
cost reductions for highly efficient silicon and thin film solar cells. As regards biomass,
increasing the efficiency and versatility of combustion and gasification systems. For countries
which want to include nuclear energy among the energy sources , a new generation of nuclear
power plants is being developed that address the issues of waste disposal, safety and nonproliferation
of nuclear materials. However, priority must be placed on increasing the share of
modern renewable technologies in the world?s energy mix.
Air pollution results primarily from the combustion of fossil fuels, from various industrial
emissions, and large -scale biomass burning in some parts of the world. In addition to the
urgent need to develop clean technologies for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, it is also
critical to develop technologies that reduce as much as possible air pollution. Current
scientific understanding on the impacts of air pollution on human and ecosystem health
provides ample evidence to warrant urgent action.
Mr. Chairman,
the scientific and technological community would like to emphasize that there is scientific
consensus, documented in the reports of IPCC, that the increase in greenhouse gases in the
atmosphere due to human activities is altering the Earth?s climate, bringing about a general
global warming.
Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stabilized at present levels, the global warming trend
and sea level rise would continue for hundreds of years, due to the atmospheric lifetime of
some greenhouse gases and the long timescales on which the deep oceans adjusts to climate
Consequently, action is needed now in order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Urgent
action is needed also to design and start implementing strategies to mitigate and adapt to the
consequences of climate change, both in relation to environmental impacts and socioeconomic
The scientific and technological community has identified in its discuss ion paper presented to
this CSD session a list of obstacles to accelerate progress in the areas of energy, air pollution,
climate change, also in the context of industrial development. We would like to highlight here
only three of these obstacles:
· The need for major capacity building efforts in science, engineering and technology:
the vast majority of R&D work is carried out by a small number of industrialized
· The need for enhanced R&D funding. For instance, government investments in
renewable ene rgy resources have been declining since the mid-1980s, and the share of
public R&D support directed towards renewables needs to be increased.
· The need for enhanced support to climate related observational networks and
international scientific cooperation programmes. It is deplorable that in its 3rd
assessment report in 2001, IPCC reported that observational networks were declining
in many parts of the world.
Thank you.