Research Handbooks in Intellectual Property series
Edited by Joshua D. Sarnoff
Chapter 8: Beyond technology transfer: protecting human rights in a climate-constrained world
This chapter is an edited version of a report (ICHRP Report) by the same name that was drafted and published by the International Council on Human Rights Policy (ICHRP) in 2011. Technology transfer has been consistently central to the climate change regime since the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) was signed in Rio in 1992. Its centrality was robustly reaffirmed when the parties to the UNFCCC met in Bali in December 2007. There, technology was identified as one of four pillars of any future climate change settlement (alongside mitigation, adaptation and finance). Despite the relative lack of progress at Copenhagen in 2009, technology remained at the heart of the Copenhagen arrangements and also featured in the Cancún Agreements of late 2010, at a time when human rights also formally entered climate treaty language. Human rights concerns were reiterated in the Paris Agreement of late 2015. Technology transfer is needed both to help poorer and more vulnerable countries and communities adapt to the now inevitable consequences of climate change in the short term, and to assist them in moving on to low-carbon development pathways in the longer term. Human rights are relevant to the technology questions that arise in both these policy areas: adaptation policies in the short term and mitigation measures over the long term. Highlighting the human rights benefits of technological interventions may create a space for re-framing and circumventing the unsustainable dynamic that has largely characterized debate of this subject.
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