Copenhagen success rests on cash and commitment

Wind turbines
A deal on climate change will require more investment to help less industrialised countries commit to low-carbon technologies

A climate change deal will require more investment to help less industrialised countries commit to low-carbon technology

New research has revealed that a lack of finance and political commitment lie at the heart of the slow take-up of renewables, as a UK think tank calls for cash for low-carbon technology to be ringfenced

The Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) says that a global deal on climate change depends on more funds being made available for low-carbon technology, despite the global recession. The comments came as G8 leaders met in Italy to discuss the financial downturn, trade and climate change.

However a report from the environmental collective of which IPPR is part casts doubt on the ability of the industrialised world to advance sustainable, low-carbon technologies, citing a shortage of cash and political will.

IPPR is a founder member of the Global Climate Network (GCN), a collective of institutes and individual policy organisations across eight countries: the UK, US, Germany, India, Nigeria, Australia, Brazil and China.

GCN interviewed 100 experts from government, industry, academia and civil society for its report, Breaking Through on Technology, which explores how to facilitate faster technology development. The research shows that no deal on climate change at Copenhagen will be possible without more financial support for low-carbon projects in less developed countries.

It made a number of recommendations, including: emphasising technology in the climate change debate; creating incentives for the take-up of sustainable technologies, such as new tariff structures or removal of subsidies; supporting the development of incentives in less industrialised countries; national low-carbon technology strategies; boosting research and development initiatives; rewarding innovators with strong patenting enforcement, and removing the patents from those who refuse to deploy their own technologies.

‘None of the governments meeting in Italy this week are being honest about the financial challenge we face in tackling climate change,’ said Lisa Harker, co-director of IPPR said. ‘There’s huge over-reliance on creating carbon markets to deal with the problem, but these won’t fully kick in for a decade or more. We need targeted government intervention and finance now to start the massive technological revolution that’s needed.’

‘Developing countries, whose main need is for cheap energy to power their growth to lift millions out of poverty, are effectively being asked to replace or add to existing power stations with low-carbon alternatives, or to fit technology to capture the carbon emissions. Their response is to ask: who will pay? The UK and other leading economies have to step up and say, we will.’

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