Key policy considerations for facilitating low carbon technology transfer to developing countries
Based on Phase I of a UK-India collaborative study, this paper analyses two case studies of low carbon technologies--hybrid vehicles and coal-fired power generation via integrated gasification combined cycle (IGCC). The analysis highlights the following six key considerations for the development of policy aimed at facilitating low carbon technology transfer to developing countries: (1) technology transfer needs to be seen as part of a broader process of sustained, low carbon technological capacity development in recipient countries; (2) the fact that low carbon technologies are at different stages of development means that low carbon technology transfer involves both vertical transfer (the transfer of technologies from the R&D stage through to commercialisation) and horizontal transfer (the transfer from one geographical location to another). Barriers to transfer and appropriate policy responses often vary according to the stage of technology development as well as the specific source and recipient country contexts; (3) less integrated technology transfer arrangements, involving, for example, acquisition of different items of plant from a range of host country equipment manufacturers, are more likely to involve knowledge exchange and diffusion through recipient country economies; (4) recipient firms that, as part of the transfer process, strategically aim to obtain technological know-how and knowledge necessary for innovation during the transfer process are more likely to be able to develop their capacity as a result; (5) whilst access to Intellectual Property Rights (IPRs) may sometimes be a necessary part of facilitating technology transfer, it is not likely to be sufficient in itself. Other factors such as absorptive capacity and risks associated with new technologies must also be addressed; (6) there is a central role for both national and international policy interventions in achieving low carbon technology transfer. The lack of available empirical analysis on low carbon technology transfer, coupled with the prominence of the issue within international climate negotiations, suggests an urgent need for further research effort in this area.
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