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International Technology Transfer for Climate Policy



While the developed world is starting to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, emissions from the developing world are increasing as a result of economic growth. Reducing these emissions while still enabling developing countries to grow requires the use of new technologies. In most cases, these technologies are first created in high-income countries. Thus, the challenge for climate policy is to encourage the transfer of these climate-friendly technologies to the developing world. This policy brief reviews the economic literature on environmental technology transfer. It then discusses the implications of this literature for climate policy, focuing on the Clean Developmenht Mechanism (CDM) ofthe Kyoto Protocol. It concludes by asking whether the current structure of the CDM provides sufficient incentives for technology transfer. Are CDM projects providing real emissions reductions, or are developed countries simply receiving credit for reductions that developing countries could have achieved on their own? What lessons can we learn from recent experience that may guide the development of the CDM (or other similar policy tools) during the next round of international climate policy negotiations?

Suggested Citation

  • David Popp, 2008. "International Technology Transfer for Climate Policy," Center for Policy Research Policy Briefs 39, Center for Policy Research, Maxwell School, Syracuse University.
  • Handle: RePEc:max:cprpbr:39

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Adam Rose & Erwin Bulte & Henk Folmer, 1999. "Long-Run Implications for Developing Countries of Joint Implementation of Greenhouse Gas Mitigation," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 14(1), pages 19-31, July.
    2. de Coninck, Heleen & Fischer, Carolyn & Newell, Richard G. & Ueno, Takahiro, 2008. "International technology-oriented agreements to address climate change," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(1), pages 335-356, January.
    3. Dechezleprêtre, Antoine & Glachant, Matthieu & Ménière, Yann, 2008. "The Clean Development Mechanism and the international diffusion of technologies: An empirical study," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 1273-1283, April.
    4. Urvashi Narain & Klaas Veld, 2008. "The Clean Development Mechanism’s Low-hanging Fruit Problem: When Might it Arise, and How Might it be Solved?," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 40(3), pages 445-465, July.
    5. Nick Johnstone & Ivan Haščič & David Popp, 2010. "Renewable Energy Policies and Technological Innovation: Evidence Based on Patent Counts," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 45(1), pages 133-155, January.
    6. Kamal Saggi, 2002. "Trade, Foreign Direct Investment, and International Technology Transfer: A Survey," World Bank Research Observer, World Bank Group, vol. 17(2), pages 191-235, September.
    7. Edwin Mansfield & Anthony Romeo, 1980. "Technology Transfer to Overseas Subsidiaries by U. S.-Based Firms," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 95(4), pages 737-750.
    8. Susmita Dasgupta & Benoit Laplante & Hua Wang & David Wheeler, 2002. "Confronting the Environmental Kuznets Curve," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 16(1), pages 147-168, Winter.
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    10. Judith M. Dean & Mary E. Lovely & Hua Wang, 2017. "Are foreign investors attracted to weak environmental regulations? Evaluating the evidence from China," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Economic Integration and Domestic Performance, chapter 9, pages 155-167 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    11. Wolfgang Keller, 2004. "International Technology Diffusion," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 42(3), pages 752-782, September.
    12. Popp, David, 2006. "International innovation and diffusion of air pollution control technologies: the effects of NOX and SO2 regulation in the US, Japan, and Germany," Journal of Environmental Economics and Management, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 46-71, January.
    13. Fisher-Vanden, Karen & Jefferson, Gary H. & Jingkui, Ma & Jianyi, Xu, 2006. "Technology development and energy productivity in China," Energy Economics, Elsevier, vol. 28(5-6), pages 690-705, November.
    14. David Popp, 2002. "Induced Innovation and Energy Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 92(1), pages 160-180, March.
    15. Ellis, Jane & Winkler, Harald & Corfee-Morlot, Jan & Gagnon-Lebrun, Frederic, 2007. "CDM: Taking stock and looking forward," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 35(1), pages 15-28, January.
    16. Richard C. Levin & Alvin K. Klevorick & Richard R. Nelson & Sidney G. Winter, 1987. "Appropriating the Returns from Industrial Research and Development," Brookings Papers on Economic Activity, Economic Studies Program, The Brookings Institution, vol. 18(3, Specia), pages 783-832.
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    Cited by:

    1. Aleluia, João & Leitão, João, 2009. "International Entrepreneurship and Technology Transfer: The CDM´s Reality in China," MPRA Paper 16150, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Takeshi Iida & Kenji Takeuchi, 2010. "Environmental Technology Transfer via Free Trade," Economics Bulletin, AccessEcon, vol. 30(2), pages 948-960.
    3. Bodas Freitas, Isabel Maria & Dantas, Eva & Iizuka, Michiko, 2012. "The Kyoto mechanisms and the diffusion of renewable energy technologies in the BRICS," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 42(C), pages 118-128.
    4. Charikleia Karakosta, 2016. "A Holistic Approach for Addressing the Issue of Effective Technology Transfer in the Frame of Climate Change," Energies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(7), pages 1-20, June.

    More about this item


    Kyoto Protocol; greenhouse gases; global warming; clean development mechanism; carbon dioxide; GHG emissions; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • D43 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Oligopoly and Other Forms of Market Imperfection
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business
    • K32 - Law and Economics - - Other Substantive Areas of Law - - - Energy, Environmental, Health, and Safety Law
    • L24 - Industrial Organization - - Firm Objectives, Organization, and Behavior - - - Contracting Out; Joint Ventures
    • L71 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Primary Products and Construction - - - Mining, Extraction, and Refining: Hydrocarbon Fuels
    • O3 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Innovation; Research and Development; Technological Change; Intellectual Property Rights
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics

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