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Can intellectual property rights within climate technology transfer work for the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement?


  • Chen Zhou

    (Xiamen University)


Since the UNFCCC 1992 mandated technology transfer commitments, how to fulfil the commitments and effectively facilitate the international transfer of climate-friendly technology in reality has been the subject of debate. In theory, climate change policymakers provide a broad framework for technology transfer through the UNFCCC regime. The 2015 Paris Agreement commits the Parties to strengthening cooperation on climate technology. In practice, however, the dynamic transfer of these technologies on an international scale does not take place fast enough to reach the full potential required by the UNFCCC. This shortcoming is partly due to intellectual property rights, which pose a significant obstacle to quick and efficient technology transfer. This article examines the kinds of changes in intellectual property laws needed to promote accessible, affordable and adaptable technology transfers and to help prepare host countries for potentially mandatory emission reductions in the post-Paris era.

Suggested Citation

  • Chen Zhou, 2019. "Can intellectual property rights within climate technology transfer work for the UNFCCC and the Paris Agreement?," International Environmental Agreements: Politics, Law and Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 107-122, February.
  • Handle: RePEc:spr:ieaple:v:19:y:2019:i:1:d:10.1007_s10784-018-09427-2
    DOI: 10.1007/s10784-018-09427-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Keith Maskus, 2010. "Differentiated Intellectual Property Regimes for Environmental and Climate Technologies," OECD Environment Working Papers 17, OECD Publishing.
    2. Jean-Frédéric Morin & Richard E. Gold, 2014. "An Integrated Model of Legal Transplantation: The Diffusion of Intellectual Property Law in Developing Countries," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/149496, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    3. Matthew Littleton, 2008. "The TRIPS Agreement and Transfer of Climate-Change-Related Technologies to Developing Countries," Working Papers 71, United Nations, Department of Economics and Social Affairs.
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    Cited by:

    1. Weko, Silvia & Goldthau, Andreas, 2022. "Bridging the low-carbon technology gap? Assessing energy initiatives for the Global South," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 169(C).

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