Beijing High-Level Conference on Climate Change: Technology Development and Technology Transfer
Beijing, 7-8 November 2008
Address by Yvo de Boer
Executive Secretary, United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
Distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to address you at this conference, which aims to make such an important contribution to the Bali Road Map negotiations under the UNFCCC.
It was Albert Einstein who said: .We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.. Nowhere is this more apparent than in climate change where new ways of thinking are needed on all fronts if the world is to rise to the challenge.
Climate change action should not jeopardize developing countries. overriding goals of poverty eradication and economic growth. So, it is critical that the negotiating process opens doors of opportunity for viable, climate-friendly economic growth on a global scale. And given that climate change impacts can undo development progress and threaten lives and livelihoods, Copenhagen 2009 crucially also needs to deliver on adaptation.
The agreed outcome to be concluded in Copenhagen next year needs to ring in a global green economic transformation. Such a global economic transformation is inconceivable without technology at its heart.
Copenhagen 2009 needs to give environmentally sound technologies a revolutionary push
The current arrangements for technology transfer have been insufficient. Yet technology and finance are crucial and underpin enhanced mitigation and adaptation action under the Convention.
o Actions on technology need to involve the private sector and be guided by countries needs, including those identified in their technology needs assessments and national strategy plans.
o Actions need to be supported by mechanisms and tools that scale-up and accelerate investments and create enabling environments. Importantly, actions need to be measurable, reportable and verifiable.
To my mind, a new mechanism needs to unleash the full potential of technology and connect the world through innovation and technology cooperation
The main challenge for an agreed outcome in Copenhagen is to create additional value for the development and transfer of technologies.
A new mechanism would need to address all stages of the technology development cycle. In my view, there are five key technology areas that the agreed outcome in Copenhagen needs to unlock in order to unleash the full potential of technology:
1. A new technology mechanism to realize the full potential of technologies
• A new technology mechanism needs to operate within the perimeters of a clearly defined challenge. A global technology road map based on the "wedges approach" indicating which technologies need to be applied when to reduce x amount of emissions by when, may be a useful guideline for the mechanism.
• For the mechanism to work swiftly and effectively, it would ideally need to be a one-stop-shop with clear and simple rules that nonetheless ensure environmental integrity.
• A mechanism needs to scale up the work undertaken by Parties under the Convention and catalyze the work outside the Convention
2. Increased private sector involvement
• The private sector holds the largest part of the necessary financing and technologies in its hands.
• A new technology mechanism needs to involve business far above what is currently the case. It needs to provide business with incentives that are clear, predictable, long-term and robust.
• A new mechanism must be a partnership with business.
3. Research & Development and commercialization
• Funding of research and development has been steadily decreasing over the past years.
• A new technology mechanism could boost research and development by pooling global funds to support a coordinated research and development agenda. Critically, it would need to ensure that public sector investments and incentives can spark increased private sector investments in research and development.
• A new technology mechanism also needs to boost technology demonstration projects, as well as provide incentives and programmes to foster private-sector investments to ensure that technologies are available at a reasonable cost.
4. Diffusion and transfer of technologies
• Technology transfer through the current carbon market structures has proved to be a promising first step, but more is needed. How could measurable, reportable and verifiable financial support be used to spark a much larger amount of private sector investments to boost diffusion and transfer?
• Parties have already indicated that the Kyoto Protocol's Clean Development Mechanism should continue beyond 2012. One way of increasing private sector investments may be to include sectoral agreements under the CDM.
• Another way would be to target measurable, reportable and verifiable support from industrialized countries as a contribution towards the implementation of national climate change strategies in developing countries.
• Climate bonds to attract up-front funding for longer-term mitigation strategies may prove to be another promising avenue.
• There has been some discussion on a technology leveraging facility. This would work with a full partnership with business and could assist in supplementing private sector initiatives that involve clean technology with public funding to install technologies that are even more advanced.
• Numerous developed countries have targeted research and development programmes. Developing countries could become full partners in such initiatives.
• Finally, measurable, reportable and verifiable technological support from advanced developing countries like China to less-developed countries could be linked to the carbon market.
5. Intellectual property-related issues
• Many developing country Parties have cited IPRs as a barrier to large-scale technology commercialization and deployment.
• A new technology mechanism must ensure that developing and developed country businesses have opportunities to license IPs, taking into account the need to reward innovation and foster private investment and deployment of technologies around the world.
Copenhagen 2009 needs to be a strong and ambitious policy framework that sets a clear overall direction for future global climate change action. As such, it needs to provide a clear framework for the aim, time-line and functioning of a new technology mechanism.
The upcoming UN Climate Change Conference in Poznan provides an opportunity to advance these issues under the UNFCCC
Poznan is the half-way mark between Bali and Copenhagen and represents the first opportunity for Ministers since Bali to advance negotiations. At Poznan, Ministers will focus on arriving at a shared vision for long-term cooperative action.
To advance negotiations towards Copenhagen, it is essential that Ministers give a strong political signal to move towards a clear outline of a shared long-term vision of how actions could generate solutions that work together in the long-term. Crucially, this needs to include both the financial architecture and the types of mechanisms needed to generate additional resources so that we can enter the era of green growth.
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