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Invention and Transfer of Environmental Technologies

image of Invention and Transfer of Environmental Technologies

Inducing environmental innovation is a significant challenge to policy-makers. Efforts to design public policies that address these issues are motivated by the fact that innovations can allow for improved environmental quality at lower cost. However, the relationship between environmental policy and technological innovation remains an area in which empirical evidence is scant.  Increased attention should be paid to the design characteristics of public policies that are likely to affect the ‘type’ of innovation induced.  The work presented in this book is brought together in five substantive chapters: environmental policy design characteristics and their role in inducing innovation, the role of public policies (including multilateral agreements) in encouraging transfer of environmental technologies, followed by three ‘sectoral’ studies of innovation in alternative fuel vehicles, solid waste management and recycling, and green (sustainable) chemistry. While particular focus has been placed on the role of environmental policy in bringing about the innovation documented, it is recognised that other factors play a key role in inducing innovation which has positive environmental implications.     

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Diverting Waste

The Role of Innovation

Encouraging innovation in material recycling and waste management technologies has been on the agenda in many countries for several decades. In this chapter, the data presented indicate the possibility that the first wave of policies (end of the 1980s, beginning of the 1990s) has produced an innovation response, but their effect is now less pronounced. Technological maturity of this sector, relative to other areas of environmental innovation, is one possible explanation for this finding. Nonetheless, in many countries recycling rates have increased and waste generation per unit of economic activity is beginning to fall. It is likely, that for mature sectors responses to environmental policy shocks may be reflected in behavioural and organisational innovations, rather than in terms of technological inventions.

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