Methodological and Technological Issues in Technology Transfer

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Executive Summary

Transport-related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are the second-fastest growing worldwide, but the transport sector is the least flexible to change due to its almost complete dependence on petroleum-based fuels and current entrenched travel lifestyles. Transportation is growing worldwide, and so are carbon emissions. Over 65% of the growth is by Annex I countries, but the share by non-Annex I countries will increase faster in the future as they satisfy their development needs (IPCC, 1995). The overall expected growth in transport-related GHG emissions will be huge and reducing it to meet the demands of the climate convention will require major changes because of the limits of technology changes and entrenched lifestyles. Significant change in current use patterns and lifestyles people in the transport sector of developed countries are needed, and efforts should be made to avoid repetition in developing countries. These changes are very challenging for the transport sector.

Efforts mainly driven by other concerns than climate change have led to technological options (improved technology design and maintenance, alternative fuels, vehicle use change, and modal shifts) and non-technical options (transport reduction, and improved management systems) that can reduce GHG emissions significantly. Similarly, there are non-transport options such as urban planning, and transport substitution such as tele-matics and improved telecommunications. Some options are low cost such as vehicle and aircraft maintenance, stringent enforceable regulatory systems along with inspection and testing, improved driving, fleet control, improved signalling, and better road signs. Others that involve changes in infrastructure such as modal change, dedicated lanes for different systems, and convenient walkways can be expensive and have long lead times. Greater use of light and heavy rail transport for both passenger and freight transport can result in reduction of GHGs, but initial cost can be high. Reducing transport intensities such as more use of public transport modes, re-organisation of local markets, regionalisation of production, and use of new logistics systems for freight travel can lead to substantial GHG reductions, but may require change in lifestyles. Disparities in technological conditions, socio-economic and historical factors necessitate the transfer of these options through market and non-market oriented paths within and between countries.

Significant barriers exist in the transfer of these options such as lack of a suitable business environment and technological capacities in technology recipient countries; in addition, there is a lack of a stimulating environment for transfer in technology supplier countries. However, policies such as promoting co-operative technology agreements between companies of different countries can result in joint R&D and other activities leading to transfer of some of these transport options and overcome some implementing barriers. Similarly, joint information networks can lead to transfer of improved technical and management skills. Creating an enabling environment in countries worldwide will stimulate technology outflows, and increase technology inflows to and from these countries with greater participation of the private sector. In addition, specialised-training programmes through technical assistance can enhance local technical capacities in technology recipient countries. Adoption of appropriate standards and regulations can stimulate and facilitate technology transfer within and between countries. Partnership between government and the private sector and among countries can also help promote technology transfer within and between countries.

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