Accessing, Obtaining and Protecting
Elgar Law, Technology and Society series
Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown
Chapter 5: Public–private partnerships for wider and equitable access to climate technologies
Technology plays an important role in the battle against climate change. To prevent dangerous climate change the world must shift to low-carbon and high-efficiency technologies in key sectors, such as power generation, transport and energy use. This fundamental transformation, also characterized as ‘energy revolution’, constitutes a considerable challenge. According to the encouraging message by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the necessary technologies are either already available (but are currently more expensive than fossil fuel-based options) or are expected to be commercialized in the coming decades. However, the IPCC also found that appropriate incentives must be in place for the development, acquisition, deployment and diffusion of low-emissions technologies and for addressing barriers. Effecting the ‘energy revolution’ requires strengthening international cooperation around climate technologies, both between developed and developing countries, and increasingly also between developing countries. The challenge is an urgent one. Around 1.5 billion people are currently estimated to lack access to energy. Fuelled by population growth and economic development, the world’s energy needs are increasing rapidly. To meet such needs the world is projected to invest tens of trillions of dollars into energy infrastructure and power generation by 2030, with approximately half of this in developing countries. This infrastructure will be used for 30 years or more, meaning that the sustainability of these investments and technologies will be crucial in determining whether the world will be able to avoid catastrophic climate change.
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