Overcoming the Impasse on Intellectual Property and Climate Change at the UNFCCC: A Way Forward
9 Pages Posted: 2 Aug 2012
Date Written: November 28, 2011
Intellectual property rights have traditionally been the primary policy mechanism for encouraging private investments in innovation, including for the production of mitigation and adaptation technologies. Yet while global climate change negotiations have made some progress in the area of technology transfer, as reflected in last year’s agreement in Cancun to establish a Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC, the role of intellectual property rights has remained a particularly divisive issue. Not only has no agreement been reached in this area, but even the path to a constructive and meaningful discussion seems elusive. Unless the role of intellectual property is addressed in a constructive and balanced manner, the potential for achieving sustainable and realistic outcomes from the climate talks could be compromised.
In this policy brief, we seek to untangle the issues that lie behind this impasse. We also suggest a possible course for action that, while taking into account a diversity of perspectives, also challenges countries – and other stakeholders – to go beyond entrenched negotiating positions.
Keywords: Climate Change, Intellectual Property Rights, UNFCCC, Mitigation and Adaptation Technologies, Technology Transfer
JEL Classification: O34
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation