Technology transfer is, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) a broad set of processes covering the flows of know-how, experience and equipment for mitigating and adapting to climate change among different stakeholders such as governments, private sector entities, financial institutions, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and research/education institutions.
Its framework was established at COP 7, as part of the Marrakesh Accords for meaningful and effective actions to enhance the implementation of Article 4.5 of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC. Article 4.5 requires developed countries to “take all practicable steps to promote, facilitate and finance, as appropriate, the transfer of, or access to environmentally sound technologies and know-how to other Parties, particularly developing country parties to enable them to implement the provisions of the Convention.”)
The rationale was that the design and spread of more energy-efficient technologies that reduce or eliminate climate change inducing emissions is a recognised solution to climate change. This is because the international community must keep the average global temperature rise to below 2°C compared to pre-industrial levels to mitigate the most severe impacts of global warming. Thus, the growth in global greenhouse gas emissions must be stopped by 2020 at the latest for a start.
At the COP13 in Bali, four sub-themes were added to the framework as part of the mechanisms for technology transfer theme.
- The first is Innovative financing, that aims to improve financial access for the development and transfer of technology from a wide variety of sources, public and private.
- Secondly, identifying ways and means to enhance international cooperation with relevant conventions and intergovernmental processes involved in the development and transfer of technology.
- Thirdly, identifying actions to promote the endogenous development of technology through the provision of financial resources and joint research and development.
- Finally, promoting collaborative research and development on technologies.
There is a particular focus on encompassing developing countries in this endeavour because it is predicted that by 2020, nearly two-thirds of the world’s emissions will be produced from them. Thus, climate technologies are directed to ensure accessibility in all parts of the world. After all, falling emissions in Europe but escalating emissions would have a counter-intuitive effect on the goal of maintaining the average global temperature. The European Union for its part has kept this mind, particularly in regards to programmes such as the Kenya Climate Innovation Centre in Kenya. It was aimed to promote home-grown green technologies throughout the East African region. It offers support to climate-focused technology ventures to boost agricultural productivity and agro-processing, to which the governments of the UK and Denmark are partners in this World Bank initiative. Other initiatives include the Renewable Energy and Adapting to Climate Technologies Window (REACT) in Africa and Vocational Training Centre for Renewable Energies and Industrial Maintenance in Cape Verde.
These tend to be economically beneficial to the private sector as well, but whether they are sufficient to leap in progress as is required given the race against time is left to be seen. However, the march against climate change continues.
Written by: Nachatira Thuraichamy
Edited by: Choy Moon Moon