Assessment Of Climate Change Data Offers Conflicting Advice On IP 01/04/2014 by Julia Fraser for Intellectual Property Watch 1 Comment Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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)A much-discussed new United Nations report on climate change addresses intellectual property issues and the role of innovation in developing technology and disseminate knowledge for local adaption to climate change. The report, “Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability,” was accepted by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) during its 38th Session on 29 March. The IPCC was set up in 1988 by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). The panel of the IPCC is made up of 195 member state representatives, and reviews assessments carried by carefully selected scientists and experts of worldwide climate change data. The work is separated into three working groups: Working Group I for the Physical Science Basis; Working Group II for Impacts, Adaptation and Vulnerability; and Working Group III for Mitigation of Climate Change. This report was produced by Working Group II, whose aim “is to consider the vulnerability and exposure of human and natural systems, the observed impacts and future risks of climate change, and the potential for and limits to adaptation,” according to the working group website, available here. The report looks at “how climate change will affect the lives of current and future generations – and what governments can do to adapt and reduce vulnerabilities,” says the WMO press release. “It confirms that, without urgent and ambitious efforts to reduce emissions, climate change will cause increasingly serious impacts over the course of the 21st century.” Within the chapter covering sustainable development strategies, the report explains: “climate resilience will in most cases depend on innovation, developing new ideas and options or adapting robust familiar ideas and options to meet emerging new needs and to respond to surprises.” It refers to numerous areas of innovation. New biotechnologies will be important for food security, sustainable forestry and health by improving food nutrition. Mobile technologies provide essential communication tools allowing, for example, farmers to survey the presence of diseases, market prices for crops, and agricultural input assessments. A more specific example is the development of “affordable technologies for desalination” to aid adaption to water scarcity. Incentivising Innovation The report recognises the importance of integrating scientific knowledge with other forms of knowledge such as local and indigenous knowledge. There is also a need not only for innovation but for the technologies and skills to use them to be transferred to users. Both of these may be constrained by patents and other intellectual property rights, it says. “If obstacles related to intellectual property rights can be overcome,” said the report, “the growing power of the information technology revolution could accelerate the transfer of technologies and other innovations (linked with local knowledge) in ways that would be very promising for strengthening local resilience.” Multiple mechanisms are used worldwide to address this issue, including patent buy-outs, patent pools and compulsory licencing, it says. However, it adds, “There is also the view, however, that strong IP protection in receiving countries is facilitating technology transfer from advanced countries and the evidence indicates a systematic impact of IP protection on technology transfer through exports, FDI and technology licensing, particularly for middle-income countries for which the risk of imitation in the absence of such protection is relatively high.” The final draft of the report is available here. There is a reference (17.5.5) to IPRs in Chapter 17 (Economics of Adaptation), here [pdf]. Innovation is discussed in Chapter 20 (Climate-Resilient Pathways: Adaptation, Mitigation, and Sustainable Development) under 20.4.3 (Enhancing the Range of Choices through Innovation), here [pdf]. The IPCC panel is to address the assessments of Working Group III on 3-11 April, according to the IPCC website. Reactions to IPCC Report The UN press release on the report is here. There have been numerous news stories worldwide about the IPCC report. For instance, the Inter Press Service had a story highlighting that the report shows adaptation investments are “seriously lagging.” The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) issued a statement on the report entitled, “Earth is in deep trouble, says IPCC report.” WWF provides the following links. Read the full IPCC WG2 report here Read the IPCC media statement on the report here Read the IPCC WG I report, The Physical Science Basis, here Read the World Meteorological Office (WMO) Annual Climate Report 2014 here Read the World Bank Turn Down the Heat report here Separately, UNEP today announced a new initiative called the Sustainable Public Procurement Programme aimed at assisting governments to “redirect public spending into goods and services that bring significant environmental and social benefits.” This is the first action to get underway as part of the 10-Year Framework of Programmes on Sustainable Consumption and Production (10YFP). Julia Fraser is an intern at Intellectual Property Watch. She is currently training to be a solicitor and will start work at an international law firm in London in 2015. She has a BSc Honours in Biology from Edinburgh University where she developed an interest in public health related intellectual property issues. William New contributed to this report. Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (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) Related Julia Fraser may be reached at email@example.com."Assessment Of Climate Change Data Offers Conflicting Advice On IP" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.