Can new technologies help reduce the impact of climate change?


October 15th, 2009

A day after climate change talks ended in deadlock in Bangkok one of the richest men in the world, George Soros pledged US$1 billion as an investment in clean energy technology. Will this make a difference in terms of reducing carbon emissions?  Yes, probably … But a further question is: Will the clean energy technology be adopted in developing countries? Unlikely … on the evidence of previous new technology diffusion.

There are many and complex reasons why new technologies do not reach poor people. In the case of low-carbon energy technologies their adoption and diffusion into developing countries will depend on new intellectual property regimes, new business models, new approaches to the ownership and development of the technologies, and a new research agenda. So many “new” things are needed that arguably the technology is the least of the challenges.

We certainly need hope to overcome the gloom of climate change but we should perhaps reflect on the extent to which that hope is being bought at the price of diverting attention away from the really difficult issues.

2 responses to “Can new technologies help reduce the impact of climate change?”

  1. www.permaculturedesigntraining.com Says:

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  2. permaculture Says:

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