ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Back to Paper Details

Assessing Low Carbon Technology Transfer and Investment Risk in the Energy Transition: Evidence from an Elite Survey

Development
Political Economy
Investment
Climate Change
Energy
Laima Eicke
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)
Andreas Goldthau
Willy Brandt School of Public Policy, Universität Erfurt
Laima Eicke
Institute for Advanced Sustainability Studies (IASS)

Abstract

International property rights (IPRs) such as patents constitute the lynchpin of the global innovation system, as governed by TRIPS. At the same time, IPRs are contested for allegedly hindering technology transfer. While there exists considerable evidence on sectors such as biotechnology or pharmaceuticals, the pertinent literature remains divided on whether IPRs limit the developing countries’ access to clean tech, thus impeding efforts to mitigate climate change. Moreover, investment in low carbon technology seems strongly biased towards OECD economies and the three emerging nations of China, India and Brazil. This bias is typically attributed to a combination of institutional and political barriers, a challenging financing environment coupled with financing costs being higher for low-carbon than high-carbon projects, as well as a lack of public funds backing up private investment. This begs the question whether developing nations might face the risk of ‘falling off the cliff’ in the unfolding energy transition. The paper reviews the literature on IPRs in technology transfer as well as the literature on the finance-innovation nexus, with a view to generating testable hypotheses for the low carbon domain. The present paper then presents the results of a recent survey among key stakeholders in the clean tech industry, the international finance domain and multilateral lending aid community. Discussing the empirical findings against the theoretical expectations, it draws lessons for further investigation in the low carbon finance-technology nexus.