Council on Energy, Environment and Water Integrated | International | Independent

Fixing Climate Governance Through Effective Technology Partnerships

Arunabha Ghosh, Sudatta Ray
November 2015 | International Cooperation, Technology Futures

Suggested citation: Ghosh, Arunabha and Sudatta Ray. 2015. “Fixing Climate Governance Through Effective Technology Partnerships”. CIGI Fixing Climate Governance Series – Paper No. 3. Waterloo, ON: Centre for International Governance Innovation. Available at


This paper describes three obstacles that have impeded climate-friendly technologies – the lack of appropriate financing, intellectual property restrictions and insufficient or underutilised capacity. It outlines proposals for two new partnerships - on energy access and on energy storage and grid balancing - that could be designed to target these challenges and be more effective than previous efforts.

Developing countries need better technologies to adapt to the impacts of climate change and mitigate future greenhouse gas emissions. Over the last decade, at least 30 international technology partnerships have been initiated. Most have been too limited in scope to achieve significant progress.

Key Highlights

  • The development and deployment of climate-friedly technologies (CFTs) needs a combination of market signals and public policy direction. Without the latter, persistent market failures have hindered research in, or deployment of, CFTs.
  • A review of over 30 climate and energy technology initiatives finds that very few partnerships have been designed to extend beyond sharing knowledge and some preliminary R&D activities.
  • For existing technologies, even with willing buyers, deployment at scale is difficult unless appropriate financing is available.
  • The development of new, or advancement of, existing technologies will stall unless innovators have a reasonable expectation that a market will develop for CFTs and thereby invest in R&D.
  • To be inclusive and effective, partnerships should contribute to capacity building in weaker partner countries to ensure that technologies are deployed widely and not captured by a few.

Key Recommendations

  • A set of governments — including developing and developed countries — should create a new multi-country partnership to promote greater decentralised energy production for the two billion poor people who still lack access to basic modern energy.
  • The partnership should supply initial working capital for smaller entrepreneurs in developing countries, help to link them to larger investors such as pension funds, establish centres to train technicians and certify products, and create model regulatory codes.
  • A set of governments — again a combination fo developing and developed countries - should create another multi-country partnership to accelerate the development and deployment of better technologies for energy storage and grid balancing.
  • The partnership should conduct market assessments; provide advance procurement commitments to stimulate R&D; agree on joint ownership of new storage technology licences; help to develop policy frameworks for incorporating these technologies; establish pilot demonstration projects in developing countries; and identify possible joint ventures.
The two proposed partnerships have wide-ranging functions as well as improved design: access to funds in cash and in kind; flexible intellectual property arrangements; and a focus on building existing capacity and leveraging networks.

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