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Bringing low carbon technologies to the developing world

29/05/2009

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An Indian-UK collaborative study has set out six key considerations to facilitate transfer of low-carbon technologies to developing countries to help fight global climate change.

The transfer of low carbon technologies to developing countries is essential if reductions in global CO2 emissions are to be realised. The economies of China and India are growing at exceptional rates, and the unavoidable product of such growth is a dramatic increase in greenhouse-gas emissions. Taking the example of India, emissions increased by 61% between 1990 and 2001. At this rate, it will draw level with China in 2030.

In order to facilitate the transfer of low-carbon technologies, the UK and India came together to assess the existing barriers. The UK Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA) and the Indian Ministry of the Environment and Forestry commissioned the Sussex Energy Group (SEG), the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) and the Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) of India to analysis the transfer of environmental technologies between the developed and developing worlds.

The study concentrated on two case studies: hybrid vehicles and coal-fired power generation via integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). As a result, it produced six key policy considerations on how best to facilitate transfer of low-carbon technologies to developing countries:

  • Technology transfer must be viewed as essential element of a wider process for building low-carbon technology capacity in developing countries.
  • The transfer of low-carbon technologies involves both vertical transfers – moving an idea from research and development, through demonstration, and finally to commercialisation – and horizontal transfers in transporting the technology from one geographical location to another. Therefore the barriers to transfers, and the best policy responses, will vary according to the stage of technology development.
  • Using manufacturers in recipient countries to supply parts and expertise will enable knowledge exchange and diffusion, and increase technology capacity among the recipient population.
  • It is essential that recipient countries take a strategic approach to obtaining technological know-how and expertise as part of the technology-transfer process.
  • While access to intellectual property rights (IPRs) is sometimes a necessary part of facilitating technology transfer; other factors such as absorptive capacity and risks associated with new technologies must also be addressed.
  • National and international policy interventions can play a significant role in assisting low-carbon technology transfer. Through a mix of incentives to reduce the high cost risks of technology-transfer measures such as subsidies, taxes, carbon-trading schemes and enforced limits on carbon emissions can all encourage the adoption of low carbon technologies.

More information

Related information on the EcoAP Website

  • ‘Improving uptake of European renewable energy research results’ Deutsch (de) español (es) français (fr) italiano (it)