Bonn: German Development Institute / Deutsches Institut für Entwicklungspolitik (DIE)
Despite concerted efforts made by various countries in the past decades to mitigate climate change, the world is getting warmer. Research estimates that current ambitions to mitigate climate change are a far cry from the levels of green-house gas (GHG) emission reductions required to limit global warming to a two-degree target, set as the tipping point if catastrophic impacts of climate change are to be avoided. Widespread mitigation and adaptation efforts are and will be required. Amongst different actions, international technological cooperation must be maximised in order to decarbonise the global economy, and reduce anticipated green-house gas (GHG) emissions. As a central pillar of the international climate regime, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) has power much beyond its material significance, which is considerable given the pooling of financial, knowledge and political power. Through its emerging Technology Mechanism (TM), the UNFCCC can frame global norms and procedures for facilitating international technology cooperation in low-carbon sectors. For this to happen, there are certain critical aspects that it must tackle. Based on research and consultations with over 50 stakeholders, we identify three issues that the TM should take cognisance of in order to realise its potential in unleashing international technology cooperation. First, facilitate low-carbon development. While the UNFCCC mandate primarily deals with climate change, the inability to simultaneously tackle development challenges blocks effective responses and commitment to low-carbon development. In order to effectively create low-carbon technology transitions, the TM needs to incorporate socio-economic aspects of sustainable development in its mandate. Moreover, as a global umbrella spearheading low-carbon technology development and deployment, the TM should systematically seek to balance activities and programmes within the larger spectrum of developing countries so that it is not only a particular few that gain from it. Second, engage with the business community. The private sector must be integrated in the TM from the start in order to facilitate and undertake international technology cooperation. As predominant owners of knowledge and financial assets, innovative mechanisms to directly engage with the private sector must be adopted. Third, bridge gaps between intellectual property rights (IPR) regimes and low-carbon technology development. In order to effectively aide technology cooperation in developing countries the TM will have to incorporate systematic solutions that encourage technology development and diffusion, while simultaneously respecting the established IPR regime.