Fixing Climate Governance through Effective Technology Partnerships

Fixing Climate Governance Paper No. 3

November 5, 2015

Developing countries need better technologies to adapt to the impacts of climate change and mitigate future greenhouse gas emissions. Over the past decade, at least 30 international technology partnerships have been initiated. Most have been too limited in scope to achieve significant progress. This paper describes three obstacles that have impeded climate-friendly technologies, namely, lack of appropriate financing, intellectual property restrictions and insufficient or underutilized capacity and outlines proposals for two new partnerships that could be designed to target these challenges and be more effective than previous efforts: a partnership on energy access and a partnership on energy storage and grid balancing.

Part of Series

Fixing Climate Governance Series

Climate scientists agree that human activity has been changing our planet’s climate over the long term. Without serious policy changes, scientists expect devastating consequences in many regions: inundation of coastal cities; greater risks to food production and, hence, malnutrition; unprecedented heat waves; greater risk of high-intensity cyclones; many climate refugees; and irreversible loss of biodiversity. Some international relations scholars expect increased risk of violent conflicts over scarce resources and due to state breakdown. Environmentalists have been campaigning for effective policy changes for more than two decades. The world’s governments have been negotiating since 1995 as parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) . Their 2015 Paris Agreement created a new regime for joint action; among other things, it is the first UN climate agreement to oblige all parties to make some contribution. Each party made a pledge pertaining to the period 2020 to 2025 or 2030. But it is widely agreed that if they are all implemented, together these 2015 pledges will still fall far short of what is needed to meet the collective goals and avoid widespread catastrophes. Important details of the Paris Agreement itself also remain to be negotiated. Nor is the UNFCCC the whole of international climate governance. Many initiatives have also been launched by smaller sets of countries, national governments, provinces, cities, civil society, and private investors and companies.   This project was designed to generate improved ideas for both the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) process and other possible sites of climate governance. In 2015, we published nine policy briefs and papers, which can be found below. The ideas in two of them appeared in Paris during COP21. Several offered original recommendations for more effective action outside the UNFCCC. A new series of publications appeared in 2016-2017.  

About the Authors

Arunabha Ghosh is the CEO of the Council on Energy, Environment and Water, one of South Asia’s leading think tanks. He has work experience in 36 countries and previously worked at Princeton University, the University of Oxford, the United Nations Development Programme in New York and the World Trade Organization in Geneva.

Sudatta Ray is an associate fellow at the Council on Energy, Environment and Water. She is currently pursuing a doctoral degree at Stanford University’s Emmett Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources.