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Copenhagen Consensus Center

Fix The Climate: Sharing Green Technology Perspective, Popp

Perspective Paper

Professor David Popp notes that, while developed countries are beginning  to constrain growth in carbon emissions, emissions from developing countries are growing. Given that most historical emissions came from high-income countries, and that low-income countries desire increased economic growth, developing countries currently do not face binding emission constraints. However, alternative policy options, such as the Clean Development Mechanism, provide a means for encouraging emission reductions in developing countries via Technology Transfer.

Professor Popp critiques Yang’s estimate of the potential of technology transfer as a climate policy option, noting that the Assessment Paper focuses on the direct gains from developed country financing of abatement in developing countries - namely, the opportunity to replace high marginal cost activities in the developed world with low marginal cost activities from the developing world. Popp notes that there is an important secondary gain from technology transfer - the potential for knowledge spillovers. This paper assesses the potential role that spillovers might play, and offers an assessment of the overall potential of international technology transfer as a policy solution.