Climate change

CCXG work on Technology Innovation, Development and Diffusion


"Enhanced action on technology development and transfer to support action on mitigation and adaptation" is one of the building blocks of the Bali Action Plan. The work on technology aims at improving our understanding of how technology innovation, development and diffusion - and international collaboration - can help change the technologies towards lower carbon intensity and greater resilience. Bookmark this page: Go to OECD work on Environmental Policy and Technological Innovation (EPTI).


Technology Penetration and Capital Stock Turnover: Lessons from IEA Scenario Analysis (April 2007)
by Cédric Philibert (IEA). The aim of this paper is to reflect on the significant differences between the emissions reductions projections in mid-term and long-term scenarios, and to explore their policy implications. It draws mainly on two recent IEA publications: the 2006 World Energy Outlook (WEO), which contains energy and energy-related CO2 projections up to 2030, and the 2006-published Energy Technology Perspectives (ETP), which considers scenarios and strategies up to 2050.

Barriers to Technology Diffusion: The Case of Compact Fluorescent Lamps (Oct 2006)
by Nicolas Lefèvre-Marton, Philippine de T’Serclaes, Paul Waide (IEA). Artificial light production accounts for 8.9% of total global primary consumption and represents approximately 8% of world CO2 emissions. Improving the efficacy of lighting systems can therefore be an important means to lower greenhouse gas emissions. To capture the benefits of Compact Fluorescent Lamps, governments can implement policies and measures to overcome such barriers. A number of countries already have experience with such programmes. This paper considers experience from Brazil, California, China, South Africa and the United Kingdom to draw lessons and to help improve the design of future CFL and other technology diffusion programs.

Barriers to Technology Diffusion: The Case of Solar Thermal Technologies (Oct 2006)
by Cédric Philibert (IEA). Solar thermal technologies offer a great potential for providing a carbon-free response to mankind’s energy demand – about half of it being of heat form. However, despite its considerable potential in household, domestic and industry sectors, the possible contribution of solar heat is often neglected in many academic and institutional energy projections and scenarios. Further, numerous barriers still impede the dissemination of solar heat technologies. This paper identifies barriers of various kinds, lessons learned from successes and failures, and suggestions for consideration by policy makers, in both industrialised and developing countries, who wish to expand the use of solar thermal and other climate-friendly technologies. 

A series of studies was produced on International Energy Technology Collaboration and Climate Change Mitigation:

Introductory paper, C. Philibert (2004)
This paper is the first in an Annex I Expert Group series that looks at international collaboration, particularly for energy technologies, in the context of climate change mitigation. International technology co-operation, by sharing information, costs, and efforts, might accelerate and facilitate technical change towards more climate-friendly technologies. Co-operation between countries should not preclude competition between companies, and may drive governments to increase their efforts, especially in supporting basic research and development. Increased technology co-operation between countries could help engage more countries into action to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.

Five case studies: 
1. Concentrating Solar Power Technologies, C. Philibert (2004)
This case study reviews past and current experience in international collaboration in the field of concentrating solar technologies in order to identify lessons that may be relevant for more general climate-friendly technology collaboration. It presents concentrating solar technologies in their current status, recent achievements and development prospects. It analyses the present successes and failures of different forms of international collaboration in this field, and draws lessons for further elaboration of international technology collaboration in addressing climate change.

2. Co-operation in Agriculture: R&D in High-yielding Crop Varieties, F. Gagnon-Lebrun (2004)
This case study’s aim is to review experience in international collaboration in the field of agriculture research and development (R&D) in order to identify lessons that may be relevant for climate-friendly technology collaboration. To this end, it traces the role of international collaboration in researching, developing and diffusing seeds of high-yielding varieties (HYV) to the world’s farmers. This is done by looking mainly at the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). The main question this paper addresses is: What are the lessons learned from international collaboration in the field of agriculture that could inform collaboration for climate-friendly technology?

3. Appliance Energy Efficiency, T. Guéret (2005)
Energy efficiency improvements in appliances can bring significant GHG emission reductions at low or negative cost to society, by lowering overall energy use and expenditures for consumers without reducing the quality of service, and by decreasing overall energy investment needs. In addition to collaboration on technology development, sharing information and establishing collaboration on policy design is of particular relevance in this field, where cost-effective technology is usually available, but market barriers prevent its actual implementation. This paper presents case studies touching both on best practices for technology collaboration and on policy collaboration.

4. Clean Coal Technologies, C. Philibert and J. Podkanski (2005)
This case study reviews recent experience in international collaboration in the field of clean coal technologies in order to identify lessons that may be relevant for climate-friendly technology collaboration. It presents information on cleaner and more efficient coal technologies, their current status and development prospects, with a focus on fuel combustion and power generation. The study also focuses on China because of its significant use of coal and the various efforts made for transferring clean coal equipment and technologies to that country. Finally, it draws on lessons learned from international technology collaboration and transfer in China.

5. Wind Power Integration into Electricity Systems, D. Justus (2005)
Wind power is undergoing the fastest rate of growth of any form of electricity generation in the world. The resource potential is large; with many countries having wind regimes that could serve as a significant energy source. Ambitious goals for wind power development have been set by many countries. This case study largely focuses on the challenge of bringing significant amounts of intermittent generating sources into grids dominated by large central generating units. It provides a brief overview of the growth of wind power, mainly since 1990, the technical and operational issues related to integration, and selected collaborative programmes underway to address grid integration concerns. It does not cover the many other areas of wind research collaboration, e.g., turbine developments or rotor aerodynamics, nor the history of international collaborative R&D in bringing wind technology to its current point in the commercialisation process.

Synthesis Report, D. Justus and C. Philibert (2005)
This paper is the last in an Annex I Expert Group series that looks at international collaboration, particularly for energy technologies, in the context of climate change mitigation. The papers and case studies point out that there is little information to indicate that technology collaboration alone leads to emission reductions on the scale needed to limit growth in greenhouse gas emissions. For many energy production and consumption activities, technology change is a slow process. So to improve the environmental performance of energy technologies and accelerate their uptake, governments need a portfolio approach that includes technology and complementary economic and social policies that provide an adequate framework for essential private sector investment.

Technology Innovation, Development and Diffusion, C. Philibert (2003)
This paper reviews climate change mitigation potential from existing and emerging energy technologies. Dissemination of existing efficient technologies should not be neglected; but the depth of the emission cuts needed in the future will require new technologies. The study discusses how technologies evolve, the role of behaviour, and what policy tools may foster technical change. The international dimensions are also examined. Climate policies would certainly benefit from more action directly shaped to promote technology innovation and development; market transforming policies, such as taxes or caps, may not provide enough stimuli for the long-term future. However, an exclusively "technology" focused approach would not fully sustitute for a more comprehensive agreement and action portfolio.


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