Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Climate-Control Talks to Address Barriers to Green-Technology Profit

This is a really big deal, the intersection of trade and carbon control. The headline story looks at trade tariffs, the next few links at the transfer of intellectual property for free meme.
From the Wall Street Journal:

After years of debate over who will foot the bill to curb greenhouse-gas emissions, world leaders are now taking up a new matter: Who will profit.

Diplomats from some of the world's biggest economies will gather in Hawaii today for a new round of talks aimed at hashing out an international agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, which sets caps on greenhouse-gas emissions but expires in 2012. The meeting isn't expected to produce any major breakthrough.

But it comes as the U.S. and other industrialized countries are pushing developing nations to scrap tariffs and other trade barriers they now impose on clean-energy technology -- a push backed by Western companies such as General Electric Co., which see sales of those goods in the developing world as a hot business....MORE

In November we mentioned the campaign for free tech-transfer in
‘No patenting of clean technology, please’

That's Nicholas Stern talking. I'm curious how my florescent green venture capitalist friends will react.
For the most part they were okey-dokey with Sir Nick when he was downplaying the costs of mitigation.

China: "Don't patent CO2 Technology"

I'm not sure this is what GE is gunning for. Here are a couple more from the link-vault,
From ChinaDaily:
"If the developing world's production for Western consumers had taken place inside the European carbon trading system, our rough estimates show that carbon credit prices would amount to 51 billion euros per year," said Reinvang.

"This indicates the minimum investment developed nations should make in technology transfer through CDM projects to ensure emission reductions in the developing world.
"From ChinaDialogue:
Technology transfer: cooperation or competition?

Dealing with climate change will require new technologies, in the developed and developing world. But will industry be helped by incentives or agreements? And what about intellectual property? John H Barton explains.

There is broad agreement that dealing with climate change will require new technologies, and developing and disseminating these technologies will require government intervention. This is firstly because encouraging research often requires government involvement, typically through creating an intellectual property (IP) system or through subsidies. Secondly, it is because the social benefits of reducing greenhouse-gas emissions are not yet generally reflected in cost structures, and firms often do not find it profitable to deploy socially desirable technologies....

From Triple Pundit:
Eco-Patent Commons Helps Spur Innovation

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development has teamed up with IBM, Nokia, Sony, and Pitney-Bowes in an “Eco-Patent Commons” program based on the model of the creative commons.

Initially putting a select group of about 31 patents into the public domain, the intent is for more companies to pledge patents designed to foster greater innovation and environmental benefit. A win-win situation for all, it seems.

This short video describes in greater detail the project and some of the initial patents pledged to the program...

Lastly, from Al Fin:
China: Scratching its Way to the Top by Industrial Espionage, Counterfeiting, Reverse Engineering, Spying, Cheating, Bluffing . . . .

China poses as a rising star in the world of commerce, industry, technology and science. But China's recent stock market scare reveals how closely China's success hangs upon financial and technological achievements in the west. If China were unable to steal, counterfeit, pirate, and reverse-engineer superior achievements of technology and science in the west, how many decades behind the west would China be?

The government believes that, in the next few years, China will surpass South Korea in technical abilities, and Germany in GDP. While China is still a minor player in the world of military high tech, the government is putting lots of money and effort into changing this. Expensive, and long term, efforts are being made to produce high tech items like jet engines, missiles and military electronics. At the current rate of progress, Chinese military technology will match that of the United States in a decade or so.
Strategy Page

In a mad rush to surpass the west, China is poisoning its air and water, destroying and depleting its topsoil, stealing from its trading partners, sending poisoned toys,food,and other merchandise overseas, misrepresenting the size and health of its banks and state enterprises, and becoming the world's leading destructive state computer hacker and possible currency counterfeiter (via N. Korea).
...there is a long record in China of sending government-directed missions overseas to buy or shamelessly steal the best civil and military technology available, reverse engineer it, and build an industrial complex that supports the growth of China as a commercial and military power....The allegations against Chen Jin, of Jiaotong University in Shanghai, are an example of the entrepreneurial approach people take toward industrial espionage and intellectual property theft in China. Chen returned to China after earning a Ph.D. at the University of Texas at Austin. In 2003, China treated Chen like a national hero for inventing China's first signal processing microchip. Last week, Jiaotong University dismissed him, and Chen stands accused of hiring flocks of migrant workers with good manual dexterity and great eyesight to scratch the name "Motorola" off chips and etch in the name of Chen's company, "Hanxin."

Is the government involved in Chinese counterfeiting? What do you think?
The second point is equally important. The piracy and counterfeiting that exists in China is largely the result of a tacit government policy to allow such practices to flourish....MORE