3. Technology Transfer: A Sectoral Analysis
Domestic actions, and those taken in co-operation with other countries, will
require an increased penetration of environmentally sound technologies, many
of which are particularly important in their application to each sector. What
is the potential for the penetration of mitigation and adaptation technologies?
What barriers exist to the increased penetration of such technologies? Can these
be overcome through the implementation of a mix of judicious policies, programmes
and other measures? What can we learn from past experience in promoting these,
or similar, technologies? Is it better to intervene at the R&D stage or
during the end-use of fuels and technology? The chapters in this section address
these questions using examples specific to each sector. Technology transfer
activities may be evaluated at three levels - macro or national, sector-specific
and project-specific. Many of the options explored are at the latter two levels.
Greenhouse gas emissions from some sectors described are larger than those
from other sectors, and the importance of each greenhouse gas varies across
sectors and countries as well. Methane, for instance, is a much bigger contributor
to emissions from agricultural activity than, for instance, from the industry
sector. Table TS5 shows the carbon emissions from
energy use in 1995. Emissions from electricity generation are allocated to the
respective consuming sector. Carbon emissions from the industrial sector clearly
constitute the largest share, while those derived from agricultural energy use
have the smallest share. In terms of growth rates of carbon emissions, however,
the fastest growing sector is transport and buildings. With rapid urbanisation
promoting increased use of fossil fuels for habitation and mobility, the two
sectors are likely to continue to grow faster than others in the future. Carbon
emissions from fossil fuels used to generate electricity amounted to 1,762 Mt
C of the total for all sectors in Table TS5.
|Table TS5 Carbon emissions from fossil
fuel combustion in Mt C (Price et al., 1998)
GROWTH RATE (%)
Note: Emissions from energy use only; does not include feedstocks
or carbon dioxide from calcination in cement production. Biomass = no emissions.
* Includes emissions only from fuels used for electricity generation. Other
energy production and transformation activities discussed in Chapter 10 are
Technology transfer includes steps within and across countries by actors who
are engaged in promoting the use of a particular technology along one or more
pathways. The market penetration of a technology proceeds from research, development,
and demonstration (RD&D) to adoption, adaptation, replication and development.
At a project-specific level, the elements of the pathway are different, and
may proceed from project formulation, feasibility studies, loan appraisals,
implementation, monitoring and evaluation and verification of carbon benefits.
The pathways that differ from sector to sector usually include many actors,
starting with laboratories for RD&D, manufacturers, financiers and project
developers, and eventually the customer whose production capacity or welfare
is hopefully enhanced through their use. This presumption needs to be carefully
established through an assessment of technology needs of the customer. A poor
needs assessment can result in ineffective technology transfer that could have
been avoided had the assessment fully captured the social, and other attributes
of the technology. The actors may make specific types of arrangements - joint
ventures, public-private parnerships, licensing, etc., that are mutually beneficial.
These arrangements will define the particular pathway chosen for technology
The spread of a technology may occur through transfer within a country and
then transfer to other countries, both may occur simultaneously, or transfer
across countries may precede that within a country. Generally, the spread of
a technology is more likely to proceed along the first option rather than the
other two, since the transfer of technologies to markets within a country is
likely to be less expensive given the proximity to the market, and lower barriers
to the penetration of that technology in the indigenous markets. Transfer of
technology from one country to another will generally face trade and other barriers
both in the initiating and recipient country, which may dissuade manufacturers
and suppliers from implementing such transfer.
Many market barriers prevent the adoption of cost-effective mitigation options
in developing countries. Market barriers can be divided in more common barriers
which are more or less relevant for all sectors (see the above section on "Barriers
to the transfer of ESTs and Table TS3 and TS4)
and barriers specific for each sector. For example, the presence of subsidies
for electricity and fuels are highly relevant for ESTs in the energy sector,
but also affects the transfers of ESTs in the transport sector (through subsidised
fuel costs), the building and industry sector (the viability of energy efficient
technologies), waste sector (electricity generation from waste) and even in
agriculture and forestry (it affects the demand for biomass fuels such as agricultural
waste and wood). On the other hand, barriers like the risks of drought, fire
and pests are very sector-specific and mostly affect the forestry and agriculture
What conditions and policies are necessary to overcome these barriers and successfully
put in place technologies for mitigation and adaptation? There is no pre-set
answer to enhancing technology transfer. The combination of barriers and actors
in each country creates a unique set of conditions, requiring "custom"
implementation strategies. Each of the sector specific chapters discusses the
barriers that are particularly important to a sector, such as fuel and electricity
price subsidies, weak institutional and legal frameworks, lack of trained personnel,
etc. Each chapter also provides examples and case studies to highlight the barriers,
and policies, programmes and measures that were used, or could be developed,
to overcome them.
The general dynamics of technology transfer apply to the transfer of climate
mitigation and adaptation technologies. Nevertheless, it is important to note
the special characteristics of adaptation technologies that distinguish them
from mitigation technologies.
Many impacts of climate change will impinge on collective goods and systems,
such as food and water security, biodiversity and human health and safety. These
impacts could affect commercial interests indirectly, but usually the strongest
and most direct incentives to adapt are with the public sector. The use and
transfer of many adaptation technologies world-wide has occurred because of
societal interventions, not as a result of market forces. Examples of such interventions
include direct governmental expenditures, regulations and policies and public
Apart from the government being a dominant stakeholder in technology transfer
for adaptation, four more characteristics often distinguish adaptation from
mitigation to climate change. Each of these characteristics also represents
a barrier to adaptation and associated technology transfer:
- Uncertainty concerning the role of greenhouse gases in causing climate
change has been reduced, but uncertainty about the location, rate and magnitude
of impacts is still considerable, which could hamper effective anticipatory
- Adaptation technologies will often address site-specific issues, and will
therefore have to be designed and implemented keeping local considerations
in mind. This could hamper large-scale technology repetition.
- As opposed to benefits of mitigation, which are global (reduced atmospheric
greenhouse-gas concentrations), benefits of adaptation are primarily local.
For this reason, adaptation projects thus far have attracted limited interest
from the Global Environment Facility (GEF) and other donors.
- The implementation of mitigation technologies can contribute to the development
of a country's energy-consuming sectors, while adaptation technologies are
primarily aimed at preventing or reducing impacts on these and other sectors.
As such, adaptation is often not considered a development objective.
In spite of adaptation often not being considered a development objective,
governments have a number of clear incentives and opportunities to start planning
for adaptation. For example, many adaptation technologies do not only reduce
vulnerability to anticipated impacts of climate change but also to contemporary
hazards associated with climate variability. It could be considered "no-regret"
adaptation or "climate safe development", having utility both now
and in the future, even if climate change were not to occur. In addition, adaptation
options need to be designed keeping site-specific natural and socio-cultural
circumstances in mind. Strengthening technological, institutional, legal and
economic capacities as well as raising awareness are important for effective
adaptation and technology transfer, for no adaptation option will be successful
when it is implemented in an environment that is not ready, willing or able
to receive the option.