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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Recent trends in innovation in climate change mitigation technologies

In this chapter we present data on trends in innovation in climate mitigation technologies. The data have been generated using newly developed search strategies to extract data from a worldwide database of patent documents (PATSTAT). In comparison with previous reports, this chapter draws upon the more detailed European Classification System (ECLA) and, most significantly, draws upon the expertise of patent examiners at the European Patent Office (EPO) in the development of search strategies. We present data on invention, technology transfer and research co-operation for a broad cross-section of countries over the last three decades. We also review some of the relevant empirical evidence on the determinants of innovation in these fields.

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