Intellectual Property and Climate Change
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Intellectual Property and Climate Change

Inventing Clean Technologies

Matthew Rimmer

In the wake of the international summits in Copenhagen and Cancún, there is an urgent need to consider the role of intellectual property law in encouraging research, development, and diffusion of clean technologies to mitigate and adapt to the effects of climate change. This book charts the patent landscapes and legal conflicts emerging in a range of fields of innovation – including renewable forms of energy, such as solar power, wind power, and geothermal energy; as well as biofuels, green chemistry, green vehicles, energy efficiency, and smart grids.
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Chapter 1: The Copenhagen Accord and the Cancún Agreements: Intellectual Property, Technology Transfer, and Climate Change

Matthew Rimmer


A successful deal in Copenhagen will mean more prosperity, more security, more equity. It will expand the pie for all . . . Copenhagen offers a new path. It can catalyze a global economy based on low-emissions growth that can strengthen sustainable development and lift billions out of poverty. Success in Copenhagen will have positive ripple effects for global cooperation on trade, energy, security and health. Failure to reach broad agreement in Copenhagen would be morally inexcusable, economically short-sighted and politically unwise. Ban Ki-Moon, United Nations General Secretary, September 20091 In international environmental law, there has been an increasing focus on the transfer and dissemination of clean technologies to developing countries in order to achieve improvements in energy efficiency and environmental sustainability. The emphasis on sharing clean technologies emerged in international law in 1972, at the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, where there was a political push to encourage technology co-operation and transfer for environmental protection.2 However, it was not until the 1980s that the issue of technology transfer rose in prominence, as global environmental problems associated with the depletion of the ozone layer became apparent. To address the problem of ozone depletion the international community created the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer 1987.3 The preamble Ki-Moon, B. (2009), ‘The Secretary-General’s Opening Remarks to the United Nations Climate Change Summit Plenary’, United Nations, 22 September, 2 Andersen, Stephen, K. Madhava Sarma and Kristen Taddonio (2007), Technology Transfer for the Ozone Layer: Lessons for...

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