Share This!
Text SizeAAA Share Email

Enhanced Action on Technology Development and Transfer: The Outcome in Copenhagen

Update by Rachel Cleetus, climate economist, UCS

Technology in the Copenhagen Accord
While the overall result of the Copenhagen climate summit leaves much to be desired, it did set an overall framework for action for the major emitting countries in the form of the Copenhagen Accord. The following were some important advances for technology in the Copenhagen Accord:

  1. The critical role of technology, both for adaptation and mitigation, was clearly noted. It was agreed that both market and non-market incentives must be provided to help developing countries choose low-carbon pathways for their development and that "a low-emission development strategy is indispensable to sustainable development."

  2. Developed countries agreed to provide "scaled up, new and additional, predictable and adequate funding" for technology development and transfer, as well as for REDD, adaptation, and capacity building, though the specific commitments on finance in the Accord fall short of what is required. Technology for adaptation and mitigation, as well as capacity building, are eligible for a portion of the fast-track financing in the amount of $30 billion over the period 2010-2012. This will also be shared more broadly with adaptation and REDD+, with a priority for adaptation in least developed vulnerable countries.  Technology development and transfer will also be eligible for a portion of the $100 billion fund that developed countries have committed to mobilize by 2020; this higher level of funding will come from a wide variety of sources, public and private. . Much of the funding will flow through the new Copenhagen Green Climate Fund, which will be "an operating entity of the financial mechanism of the Convention."

  3. The accord also established an institutional framework for technology development and transfer called the Technology Mechanism, and stated that it will be "guided by a country-driven approach and be based on national circumstances and priorities."


Draft text on 'Enhanced Action on Technology Development and Transfer'
In addition, away from the pyrotechnics of the high-level negotiations among leaders on the text of the Accord, country negotiators worked hard to advance individual parts of the text that will hopefully be incorporated in a legally binding treaty, or adopted as separate decisions at the next Conference of the Parties meeting in Mexico City, December, 2010.   The following were some important advances for technology in the specific draft text on 'Enhanced Action on Technology Development and Transfer', [1]  dated Dec 15:

  1. The text elaborates further on the Technology Mechanism, which will be composed of a Technology Executive Committee and a Climate Technology Center/Network. It also articulates a short-list of activities that that would be supported by this mechanism.

  2. It sets a goal of at least a doubling of global energy-related research, development and demonstration by 2012 and increasing it to four times its current level by 2020.

  3. The exact composition and authority of the Technology Executive Committee is yet to be decided. Other outstanding issues include: whether or not the executive body will be under the authority of the COP, the mode of linkage between the technology mechanism and the finance mechanism; and whether and how the contentious issue of intellectual property rights (IPR) will be dealt with.


Proposed U.S. contributions to clean technology
To help meet its commitments under the UNFCCC process, the United States proposes to contribute to clean technology in the following ways:

  1. The United States made a specific commitment of $85 million over a period of five years to the Climate Renewables and Efficiency Deployment Initiative (Climate REDI), an outcome of the Major Economies Forum (MEF) process that was unveiled in Copenhagen on December 14th by Energy Secretary Steven Chu and Indian Environment Minister Jairam Ramesh . This is part of a $350 million international effort to help buy down the costs of efficient appliances and low carbon technologies, as well as to provide technical know-how and build capacity in developing countries. The balance of the pledges comes from Italy, Australia, the U.K., the Netherlands, Norway, Switzerland, and other partners. The MEF also released ten Technology Action Plans.[2]

  2. Climate and energy legislation passed in the House (American Clean Energy and Security Act/ HR. 2454) and pending in the Senate (The Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act /S.1733) both allocate a portion of the allowance revenues generated under a cap-and-trade program to clean technology and adaptation in developing countries. The Senate bill currently allocates one percent of allowances to clean technology from 2012-2022, two percent from 2022-2026 and three percent after that. Based on allowance price projections from EIA modeling of the House climate and energy bill, this allocation amounts to 0.75 to 1.3 billion dollars a year through 2020, rising to $5 billion per year in 2030. An equivalent amount is allocated to adaptation through 2027, and after that adaptation gets a higher allocation of funding (in the range of $8 to 9 billion per year from 2027-2044, falling to about $6 billion per year from 2044 to 2050). Conceivably, a portion of the funds allocated to adaptation could go toward technologies for adaptation. These provisions are critically important; however, in the near term they fall short of what the U.S. can and should contribute to this global effort.

  3. The recently-introduced Senate Foreign Relations bill (the International Climate Change Investment Act of 2009)[3] establishes an International Clean Energy Deployment Program, under the auspices of an inter-agency group, with an Expert Panel on Technology Deployment. No specific funding commitment for clean technology has been outlined yet, but the bill says that these funds would be new and additional and would be disbursed through bilateral and multilateral funding mechanisms to help deploy low carbon technologies globally.


Additional financial committments from other countries
Among the additional commitments from other countries to climate finance (adaptation and mitigation, including REDD+):

  1. The EU has committed to providing $10.8 billion over three years (2010-2012) to help developing countries with climate goals. The most generous pledges came from Britain ($2.4 billion over three years) and Sweden ($1.2 billon over three years).

  2. Japan has committed $15 billion over the same period, $11 billion of which will come from public funds and $4 billion from private sources.

  3. At the Bali climate summit in December, 2007, Norway committed $2.5 billion over 5 years to support activities to reduce deforestation.

  4. In the plenary session on Dec 18, the Brazilian President, Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva, made an extraordinary offer that that Brazil would be prepared to participate in providing finance to developing countries in greater need. "Brazil is willing to tap money to help other countries," he said.  "We will do it.  We are willing to participate in the financing mechanisms if we reach agreement on a final proposal from this conference."

[1] FCCC/AWGLCA/2009/L.7/Add.3, dated Dec 15.

[2] Major Economies Forum

[3] International Climate Change Investment Act of 2009  


Powered by Convio
nonprofit software