Treaty would protect green innovation

TEXT OF STORY

Steve Chiotakis: This morning the House Climate Change committee takes up the issue of intellectual property rights. It's become a flash-point in international climate talks as poor nations demand cheaper access to low-carbon technology developed by rich countries. From the Marketplace Sustainability Desk, here's Sam Eaton.


Sam Eaton: Negotiators for a new international climate treaty have fielded several proposals that would allow poor nations to break patents on green technologies. The argument is that developing nations can't be expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions without a little help.

But Mark Esper is with the Intellectual Property Center at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. He says if companies' inventions aren't protected, they'll simply stop inventing.

Mark Esper: If they come to believe that at the end of the day when they create something it will be taken by China or it will be taken by India and exploited in those countries, then the concern is that innovation required to address climate change will simply dry up.

The Chamber recently set up an alliance to lobby for patent protections on climate technology. Esper says rather than punish inventors, climate negotiators should ensure access to low-carbon technologies through a global fund that would help poor nations pay for it.

I'm Sam Eaton for Marketplace.

About the author

Sam Eaton is an independent radio and television journalist. His reporting on complex environmental issues from climate change to population growth has taken him all over the United States and the world.

Comments

I agree to American Public Media's Terms and Conditions.
With Generous Support From...