1.1 The role of technology transfer in addressing climate change
Global economic growth is currently leading to increased consumption of raw
materials, loss of natural habitats, energy use and production of waste. Achieving
the ultimate objective of the UNFCCC, as formulated in Article 21
, will require technological innovation and the rapid and widespread transfer
and implementation of technologies and know-how for mitigation of greenhouse
gas emissions. Transfer of technology for adaptation to climate change is also
an important element of reducing vulnerability to climate change.
Technology transfer has successfully contributed to the solution of a variety
of local and global environmental problems. Case studies included in the Report
document this experience and provide valuable lessons for climate protection.
These case studies include, to varying degrees, essential elements of successful
technology transfer including consumer and business awareness, access to information,
capacity building, investment financing, relaxation of trade barriers, and a
strong regulatory framework.
This technological innovation must occur fast enough and continue over a period
of time to allow greenhouse gas concentrations to stabilise and reduce vulnerability
to climate change. Technology for mitigating and adapting to climate change
should be environmentally sound technology and should support sustainable development.
Sustainable development on a global scale will require radical technological
and related changes in both developed and developing countries. Economic development
is most rapid in developing countries, but it will not be sustainable if these
countries simply follow the historic greenhouse gas emission trends of developed
countries. Development with modern knowledge offers many opportunities to avoid
past unsustainable practices and move more rapidly towards better technologies,
techniques and associated institutions. The literature indicates that to achieve
this, developing countries require assistance with developing human capacity
(knowledge, techniques and management skills), developing appropriate institutions
and networks, and with acquiring and adapting specific hardware. Technology
transfer, in particular from developed to developing countries, must therefore
operate on a broad front covering these software and hardware challenges, and
ideally within a framework of helping to find new sustainable paths for economies
as a whole.
There is, however, no simple definition of a "sustainable development
agenda" for developing countries. Sustainable development is a context
driven concept and each society may define it differently, based on Agenda 21.
Technologies that may be suitable in each of such contexts may differ considerably.
This makes it important to ensure that transferred technologies meet local needs
and priorities, thus increasing the likelihood that they will be successful,
and that there is an appropriate enabling environment for promoting Environmentally
Sound Technologies (ESTs).
The Report analyses the special challenges of transferring ESTsto address climate
change in the context of sustainable development. The literature provides ample
evidence of the many problems in current processes of technology transfer which
makes it very unlikely to meet this challenge without additional actions for
the transfer of mitigation and adaptation technologies.