Supporting Innovation to Meet Climate Change Challenges

ICC, and the global business community it represents, believes that innovation is key to addressing many of the world’s challenges today, including that of climate change.

Innovation fuels economic competitiveness, creates jobs, and helps ensure that technology and manufacturing enterprises continue to contribute social and economic value to the global economy as a whole.

ICC is therefore highly supportive of efforts by the United Nations (UN) and other intergovernmental organizations to encourage technological innovation in general, and innovation in environmentally sustainable technology in particular. ICC especially supports efforts aimed at creating effective policy and regulatory environments around the world that encourage innovation and enable the development, broad dissemination, and use of innovative products and technologies.

To achieve its aims to find solutions for fighting climate change and adapting to its effects, the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) and its Parties must provide a framework which supports and encourages innovation. Fostering innovation is one of the post-2015 Sustainable Development Goals and is supportive of achieving other sustainable development goals, such as ending poverty and hunger, ensuring access to energy and health and promoting sustainable economic growth. The UNFCCC should embrace and support the development of positive technology enabling environments, innovation-focused government and market policies and regulation, as well as a more active and engaged role of the business community at large.

An effective response to climate change requires clean innovation on a global scale, i.e., the development and diffusion of a broad variety of new clean technologies in both developed and developing countries.

  • There is broad consensus that clean technology innovation is key to addressing the global challenge of climate change. Indeed, many existing clean technologies already deliver considerably improved environmental performance compared to other technologies. In particular, they are more protective of the environment, display lower pollution levels, deploy resources in a more sustainable manner, recycle a higher share of their wastes and products, and/or treat residual wastes in an environmentally more acceptable way.
  • Clean technologies fall into two categories: mitigation and adaptation. Mitigation technologies aim to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases or to capture them, while adaptive technologies allow users to adjust to negative effects of climate change, or exploit positive ones.
  • Innovation comprises two dimensions: technology development and technology diffusion. Technology development refers to the use of scientific knowledge to obtain solutions. By contrast, technology diffusion is the process by which new technologies are transmitted from one party to another. Climate-friendly technologies, no matter how advanced, clearly do not serve their purpose until they are actually deployed and used. A meaningful solution requires the world to collectively embrace a broad array of clean technology solutions, many of which are already widely available on the market today.
  • Many clean technology solutions are already being developed and deployed by private sector actors.iv Indeed, in most instances, a range of technological solutions are available from a range of market players, who compete amongst each other to address the same core sets of mitigation or adaptation challenges. The markets, in this sense are properly functioning, although in numerous situations trade barriers continue to cause prices to be higher than they would otherwise be.
  • Technologies are also being transferred and shared, through commercial partnerships, collaborative innovation frameworks, and bilateral or regional government-to-government or private sector technology and innovation partnerships.

Summary and highlights

  • The importance of innovation
  • Enabling policies for clean technology innovation
  • Existing mechanisms to bridge the technology gap
  • The role of intellectual property rights in clean technology innovation and deployment
  • The appropriate forum for IPR discussions is the WTO TRIPS Council