Developing nations eligible to share "climate friendly technology"

Developing nations eligible to share "climate friendly technology"

2009/7/8

At the third preparatory meeting of the "Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate" held recently, the partaking parties voiced their desire to develop and disseminate new, low-carbon energy technology and climate-friendly technology through the forging of global partnership.

In drastic contrast to this situation, however, the U.S. House of Representatives in June unanimously voted to make it a U.S. policy to prevent the Copenhagen Treaty from "weakening" U.S. intellectual property rights on a wind, solar and other eco-friendly technologies.

For years, varied world organizations and international treaties have repeatedly appealed to developed countries to help developing nations protect and improve their environment on the basis of economic development through the fund aid and technological transfer.

Developed countries have their obligations to promote and assist eco-friendly technology and other patented technologies to transfer to developing nations, just as "the 21st Century Agenda" and "the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change" adopted by the U.N. Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in 1992 clearly and explicitly enunciates. And the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Right set down minimum standards on many forms of intellectual property (IP) regulation at the Uruguay Round of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) convened in 1994. Despite all these moves, developed countries have been very slow with their technology transfer to developing nations.

Since most of the climate-friendly technology is usually owned by private sectors in developed countries, some developed countries acknowledge, the transfer of these technologies on very preferential terms would run counter to strong business incentives for private sector economies, nevertheless.

Besides, the climate-friendly technology has much to do with the strengthening and growth of developed countries' economic competitive power. The absolute advantages of developed countries have somewhat declined in term of the absolute superiority of the market and science and technology advances due to the low labor costs and rapid spread of science and technology worldwide and particularly with the fast expansion of an Asian technology base and fast growth of Asian economy.

So, some developed countries have been taking actions one after another for protecting and reinforcing their advantages or competitive edge in the realm of technology. The British government set out its carbon policy in a White Paper it issued back in 2003, in which it resolved to develop, apply and export new low-carbon technology in a hope to create more business opportunities. In a "competitive plan" it promulgated in 2006, the U.S. government was determined to increase the competitive capacity of the United States in technology development, including going in for vigorous energy researches. On its part, Obama administration has been moving quickly to rebuild U.S. economy via the green energy strategy based on clean fuel energy.

Nevertheless, any technology can ultimately realize its commercial value at the time when it enters the market and turns itself into an industry, and this is also true to climate-friendly energy. To date, exorbitant high-tech transfer fees have lent developing nations in a disadvantageous, marginalized position in markets and so these nations are currently hardly affordable for such technology transfer. As a matter of fact, conventional fossil fuels are by far cheaper as compared to the clean fuel energy today.

Although the technology transfer was made a special topic on the 5th Bonn Dialogue on Global Environmental Change in early April, no substantial progress was made in this regard. Therefore, the tough issue of global climate change is difficult to resolve, provided both developed and developing economies cannot cope with their long-term differences on technology transfer, and provided the developing economies cannot share their climate friendly technology with developed economies.

                                                                                   Source: People's Daily Online     




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