Market News

 October 16, 2009
EU nears tech transfer deal on climate change

 EurActive - The European Union is getting closer to a deal on supporting the low-carbon development of emerging countries such as China, India and Brazil, as the global community enters the final negotiating straight before a UN climate summit in December.

According to plans currently being worked out by EU member-state negotiators, transfers of clean technologies such as wind turbines would take place along country-specific roadmaps, supervised by an international panel of experts. 

A UN forum would meet once a year to assess progress made by emerging economies in reducing their greenhouse gas emissions beyond business as usual. It would then allocate international funding according to progress made. The European Commission estimates that developing countries’ overall financing needs will hit €100 billion a year by 2020. Between €22-50 billion would come from the international public sector.

Intellectual property protection

Until now, the issue of clean technology transfer from rich countries to the developing world has stumbled on intellectual property protection. Emerging economies such as China, India and Brazil have been pushing for exemptions from international legislation protecting intellectual property rights, explained a senior diplomat from one of the large EU member states, speaking to journalists in Brussels this week.

"The European Union says it is conscious of this and that something needs to be done," the diplomat said, before stressing that granting such exemptions would be asking too much of developed countries. This would be enormous because this is the body that governs the industrial and economic stability of research centres," said a senior EU diplomat. "This is not possible."

Technology roadmaps

To overcome this problem, Europeans stand ready to offer "technology roadmaps" tailor-made to each country’s needs, he said. "On a case-by-case basis, we will see how we can find solutions to technology barriers," the diplomat explained. The idea, he said is "to put in pace the technology roadmaps and establish a panel of experts that assess year-on-year the evolution of the situation and looks if there are blockages".

To supervise the whole system, a forum would be established to verify emissions reductions made be developing countries on the one hand and financing needs on the other. "There will obviously be a link between the emissions reductions and financing," the official stressed.

According to the diplomat, emerging countries’ targets for 2020 could be met with existing technologies. But beyond that date, technology breakthroughs will be needed, he said.

The idea seems to have struck a chord with emerging countries, with some now ready to drop their demand for free access to technology, according to a report in the Financial Times on Friday (16 October). One EU official is quoted by the paper as saying that the "language of the discourse" on technology transfer had changed in recent weeks. Another said the discussion was now "broadening", with "more mutuality" between rich and poor countries.

For More Information: EurActiv