Bear with me on this post. It spans intellectual property, green energy, other bloggers and UK energy policy .
Yesterday, I attended the Regen South West Renewable futures conference. You can read about what was said here. I even get a quote!
One of the speakers on the event was a guy called John Geesman who is an American who had a startling grasp of UK energy policy. He also has a blog called “Green Energy War”
He’s just written a post called “Free Trade, Global Warming, and Beliefs of Elites”, sounds great doesn’t it? In it discusses (briefly) the role of trade and IP relating to clean energy tech and developing countries. Arguing that the US hardline on IP damages the ability of countries to mitigate or adapt to climate change.
He also draws attention to an excellent report from Third World Network on the fact that through the “Foreign Relations Authorization Act” the US have established a policy that they will “oppose any global climate change treaty that weakens the IPRs of American green technology”
This seems to offer a new front on the IP rights vs human rights debate. The argument has been well rehearsed in between the pharmaceutical industry and developing country health campaigners. But at Copenhagen we may see the same debate between clean tech companies and environmental groups. As if to underline the point General Electric borrowed pharma’s script and told congress:
“Such measures would be counterproductive from the point of view of combating climate change because they would deter innovation and technology deployment. In addition, they would be severely detrimental to US export interests … Companies will be careful to avoid licensing technology or even selling products to customers in countries where those customers could reverse engineer, take and use the intellectual property rights.”
So this begs the question, are patents and IP rights a desirable way to incentivise things that need be deployed for a global good?