Environmental Technologies, Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Environmental Technologies, Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Accessing, Obtaining and Protecting

Elgar Law, Technology and Society series

Edited by Abbe E.L. Brown

Many disciplines are relevant to combating climate change. This challenging book draws together legal, regulatory, geographic, industrial and professional perspectives and explores the role of technologies in addressing climate change through mitigation, adaptation and information gathering. It explores some key issues. Is intellectual property part of the solution, an obstacle to change or peripheral? Are there more important questions? Do they receive the attention they deserve? And from whom? This innovative book will play an important role in stimulating holistic discussion and action on an issue of key importance to society.

Chapter 5: Public–private partnerships for wider and equitable access to climate technologies

Elisa Morgera and Kati Kulovesi

Subjects: development studies, law and development, environment, climate change, innovation and technology, technology and ict, law - academic, environmental law, human rights, intellectual property law, law and development, politics and public policy, human rights


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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