Friday, August 14, 2009

Copenhagen starting points

The most recent round of climate change talks ended Friday in Bonn, Germany with UNFCCC Executive Secretary Yvo de Boer saying "selective progress had been made to consolidate the huge texts on the this rate, we will not make it." A key area of contention is if the climate change treaty will govern intellectual property.

Developing countries demand more adaptation financing funded by the developed world and relaxed intellectual property laws for clean technologies. However, the US has refused to negotiate intellectual property laws at Copenhagen, especially since China fails to consistently enforce patents within its jurisdiction. The Times of India quotes an unamed official saying '
But they [referring to developed countries] want to create business out of the situation and ask us to trust the very markets they are right now propping out of the credit crisis."

These countries fear that developed nations will profit from exporting climate change technologies. Developed nations fear that they will not recoup their investments in renewable energy technology if they're exported to China, a country that will not begin reducing emissions until 2050. Would China be willing to commit to an earlier emissions reduction peak date in exchange for relaxed intellectual property laws? However, even if China agrees, US domestic politics may tie the hands of US negotiators to agree for any technology sharing agreement. A strong agreement will not likely be reached at Copenhagen unless developing countries extract financial or technological help from the developed world.

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