Energy and Climate Policy

Bending the Technological Trajectory

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Technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving environmental objectives, so it is important to understand how environmental policy design and technological innovation are linked. This is particularly true in the area of climate change where the estimated future costs of reducing greenhouse gas emissions are affected greatly by the technological trajectory of the economy. While we suspect that public policy can play an important role in accelerating the development and diffusion of climate change mitigation and adaptation technologies, empirical evidence in this area remains scant. This book presents a series of papers that explore the extent to which technological innovation can lower the cost of achieving climate change mitigation objectives.

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International technology agreements for climate change: Analysis based on co-invention data

This chapter examines the effect of multilateral energy technology initiatives, so called “Implementing Agreements”, on international research collaboration in seven important climate change mitigation technologies. The analysis is conducted using patent data on 33 OECD countries during the period 1970-2009. We find that co-invention is significantly affected by the membership in the Implementing Agreement. Joining an agreement would increase co-invention by between 150% and 200% in the case of the agreements which relate to carbon capture and storage and solar photovoltaics, and approximately 100% for biofuels, fuel cells, and wind power. Given the urgency to develop effective international mechanisms to mitigate climate change, these results are encouraging and the topic is an important area for further policy research.

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