Climate change

ICC spotlights role of technology development and deployment to combat climate change

  • 13 August 2010

During the recent United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) meeting in Bonn, ICC explored the challenges and opportunities for businesses to effectively develop and deploy technology at the necessary scale to combat climate change.

The ICC event: Technology Development and Deployment to Address Climate Change brought together business experts and government negotiators to examine scaling-up technology dissemination, mainly in developing countries.

Brian Flannery, Vice-Chair of the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy, opened the discussion by reminding participants of the two energy challenges the world faces: the next decades’ rapid increase in energy demand and the management of green house gas risks.

“In order to overcome these challenges governments should stimulate research and development to create innovative, affordable and lower greenhouse gas emitting technologies sooner,” Mr Flannery stated.  “To accelerate deployment of technologies for mitigation and adaptation we need to improve enabling frameworks for investment and technology transfer, and to maintain and strengthen free trade and investment.”

Jean-Yves Caneill, Sustainable Development Project Manager for Electricite de France, raised several questions in relation to the development of the proposed UNFCCC technology mechanism which included:

What should be the success criteria and time frames of the technology mechanism?

How would the technology mechanism relate to the national governments technology strategies and plans?

What are the relevant topics and/or issues that have to be looked at carefully in the creation and functioning of the technology mechanism as far as the power sector is concerned?

“The critical aspect is to ensure that existing technologies, future technologies, and research and development come on board by creating successful deployment conditions of already existing technologies, addressing barriers to investment in mature but emerging technologies, and building the right international architecture,” said Mr Caneill.

Thaddeus Burns, Senior Counsel of  Intellectual Property and Trade for General Electric, outlined the useful role of technology centres in stimulating innovation and technology deployment. “Technology centres are an essential tool to help countries customize and deploy technology to suit national and regional needs. They could increase innovation between 100-1000% and provide special assistance to the poorest and most vulnerable countries, ” Mr Burns said. “Technology centres should be focused and practical, consistent with international trade, procurement and intellectual property rules and help governments meet climate change challenges.”

Bruce Wilson, Chair of the UNFCCC Experts Group on Technology Transfer, reinforced this message by stating that the topic of ICC’s side event strengthens these ideas for negotiators and emphasizes the need for UNFCCC to improve its engagement with business and civil society. As of now, only the private sector remains the main advocate for innovations and technology deployment.

ICC has played a key role in climate change discussions through the business and industry focal point of the UNFCCC negotiations, as well as via its global national committee network.

Moving forward it is clear that businesses have a key role to play in areas such as technology development and deployment, and ICC hopes to see the creation of more innovative ways for the UNFCCC to benefit from business expertise and actions. This will require stepping up private-public sector dialogue in the lead up to the 16th Conference of the Parties in Cancun, Mexico in December 2010.