Technology Debated In UNFCCC Barcelona Talks; IP To Follow05/11/2009 by Catherine Saez, Intellectual Property Watch 1 CommentShare this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Much of our best content is available only to IP Watch subscribers. We are a non-profit independent news service, and subscribing to our service helps support our goals of bringing more transparency to global IP and innovation policies. To access all of our content, please subscribe now.BARCELONA – After only a short break from the Bangkok climate talks, some 30 days before the Copenhagen climate change conference in December, delegates are back at the negotiating table for the last stretch of intense discussions. Among the issues discussed by delegates from 181 countries, technology appears preponderant, including the way to encourage environmentally sound technology (EST) innovation, and to transfer that technology to developing countries. Meanwhile, civil society is warning of possible new technology-related risks, and the issue of emission reductions is being hotly discussed.The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change is meeting in Barcelona from 2 to 6 November. Although intellectual property is inherently part of the technology issue, it has not so far been addressed in Barcelona, according to sources.A “non-paper” numbered 29 was released in Bangkok in October by the “contact group of enhanced action” on development and transfer of technology. The contact group is part of the ad hoc working group on long-term cooperative action under the Convention. A new and more concise version of the non-paper, numbered 36 [pdf], superseded the 29 and was released in Barcelona on 3 November.Technology is essential to the UNFCCC, according to the organisation fact sheet on technology. ESTs are central to mitigating climate change and increasing resilience to climate change impacts. By using ESTs, it said, developing countries can avoid the collateral consequences brought by some developed countries’ approaches.ESTs “need to be rapidly picked up by the private sector, deployed and diffused widely,” the fact sheet said.Negotiators from the European Union and from developing countries met by Intellectual Property Watch said technology was being discussed heavily but everybody seemed to keep away from the intellectual property aspect of the negotiations, although it was inevitable that the issue be discussed in the context of technology transfer before the Copenhagen meeting.There are five options on measures regarding IP rights in non-paper 36. Some options vary greatly in means to achieve development and distribution of technology. Option one, for example, promotes a balanced intellectual property system to encourage technology development, diffusion and transfer, while option five calls for compulsory licences for specific technologies if “it can be demonstrated that those patents and licences act as a barrier to technology transfer.”Other scenarios are offered in options 3, 4 and 5. Option 2 asks for the creation of a global technology pool for climate change, the use of the World Trade Organization Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights agreement’s full flexibilities, and differential pricing between developed and developing countries. Option 3 calls for patent exclusion and revoking of existing patents in either developing countries, least developed countries or counties vulnerable to the adverse effects of climate change on essential and urgent ESTs, while option 4 calls for the establishment of a committee to address patents and related IP issues. All of these options have to be discussed, but for the moment it seems that negotiators are steering clear of the issue.Meanwhile, civil society holding side events are warning against some adverse effects of new technologies, fearing that scientists may be opening a Pandora’s box of trouble they could not reverse.The ETC group circulated a briefing paper to negotiators in which they are asking that “No provisions relating to technological enhancement, research, development, diffusion, deployment will apply to the large-scale, intentional manipulations of the earth’s climate through geoengineering, including solar radiation management, carbon dioxide removal technologies and weather modifications.” Generally, too much emphasis is brought on technologies to resolve climate change challenges, Diana Bronson, programme manager for the ETC group told Intellectual Property Watch.The WTO and the World Intellectual Property Organization are among the crowd at the Barcelona climate talks. Not officially invited, they act as “a resource for delegates and non-governmental organisations,” Carlos Mazal from WIPO told Intellectual Property Watch.The Group of 77 developing countries and China said in a briefing yesterday that it is guardedly optimistic that the Barcelona talks would be constructive. The group resumed work yesterday after about 50 African countries boycotted talks on renewing the Kyoto Protocol accord a day earlier. It is still possible to have a successful outcome in Copenhagen, the G-77 plus China group representative said during a press briefing. He said there is a parallel to the vigour with which developed countries moved to quench the financial crisis by injecting over $20 trillion into the economy with the urgent need for heavy investment in the mitigation of climate change, notably in reducing carbon dioxide emissions.The G-77 representative also said that the financing of the climate change mitigation should be under the umbrella of the UNFCCC rather than administered by global institutions such as the World Bank or the International Monetary Fund.The European Union, during a press briefing, remained reasonably optimistic too on the outcome of the weeklong negotiations on the road to Copenhagen although they do not expect to reach carbon reduction levels asked by developing countries. The developing countries are calling for a cut of a minimum of 40 percent of developed countries emissions from 1990 levels by 2020, while the developed countries estimated that they could reach some 30 percent of reduction, according to EU representatives.Bringing Saudi Arabia on boardMeanwhile, hundreds of miles from Barcelona, NGOs in 18 developing countries organised events Wednesday to send a message to Saudi Arabia, whom they suspect is playing an obstructionist role in the climate negotiations, according to indiACT, the League of Independent Activists. Saudi Arabia is allegedly considering an ambitious climate agreement contrary to their oil trade benefits.NGOs from Bangladesh, Benin, Brazil, Burkina Faso, Congo, Ivory Coast, Ethiopia, Gabon, Fiji, India, Mexico, Ghana, Nepal, Niger, Nigeria, Solomon Islands and Togo participated in this campaign by organising events in front of Saudi Embassies or UN institutions, they said.Share this Story:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Google+ (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)RelatedCatherine Saez may be reached at email@example.com."Technology Debated In UNFCCC Barcelona Talks; IP To Follow" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.