13 august 2009

Climate talks: US, others refuse to discuss IPR changes to help poor get clean tech

Nitin Sethi, TNN, Times of India, 13 August 2009

NEW DELHI: The US and other rich nations have refused to discuss any changes in the intellectual property regime that would help poor nations access clean technologies currently in private hands. The industrialized nations took the position in the resumed UN negotiations at Bonn, Germany, while opposing demands to the contrary from the developing and poor countries, including India.

The US negotiators wanted the entire discussion on modifying IPR regime taken off the table.

On the issue of finance too, the industrialized countries have balked at the idea of providing funds to the poor nations to undertake greenhouse gas mitigation.

The G77 and China grouping, which includes India, has long asked that the rich nations should buy out the intellectual property rights of the private companies and provide the same to poor countries. They aver that much of the clean technologies sit in the hand of private players in the West and a global crisis should not become an occasion for the latter to find captive markets for their goods in developing world in the name of saving the planet.

Countries like the US and groupings like EU have continued to harp on letting `markets' find the right solution to climate change.

India had earlier pointed out that the `market' couldn't be trusted to provide a regular, consistent flow of funds or technologies. They have highlighted the case of recent recession and credit crunch that swept through the North which saw the private investors withdraw and block investments to avert risks.

"The developed countries go all over the world saying climate change is a global crisis bigger than any economic recession. They ask India to make a contribution disproportionate to its historic responsibility. But they want to create business out of the situation and ask us to trust the very markets they are right now propping out of the credit crisis," said one Indian official.

With the industrialized nations going for a stalemate on finance and technology issues, the on-going talks at Bonn which were expected to see the 200-page plus text for negotiations being reduced to a more precise document has become more of a talk shop. India had demanded that the proposals in the text that are inconsistent with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change -- the existing global treaty -- be removed as the first step towards an agreement in December.

But the decision to now let the Bonn discussions flow through without concrete `text reduction' into the meet in Bangkok in October, negotiators believe, would load the pressure on to developing countries towards the end of the negotiations.

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