Methodological and Technological issues in Technology Transfer

Other reports in this collection

3.1 Residential, Commercial, and Institutional Buildings Sector

In the residential, commercial, and institutional building sector energy is used to heat and cool buildings, provide lighting, and services ranging from cooking to computers. The emissions from the building sector include those from the direct use of fossil fuels in buildings and emissions from the fuels used to provide electricity and heat to buildings.

Buildings are long lasting and community development patterns have even longer lives. The incremental costs of the best technologies are slight at time of construction, compared with the cost of replacing energy-wasteful buildings and equipment. The technologies themselves are varied and powerful. The IPCC Technical Paper I found an existing technical potential to meet the sector's global energy needs through 2050 with no increase in energy use from the 1990 level.

Buildings vary greatly in their size, shape, function, equipment, climate, and ownership, all of which affects the mix of technologies needed to improve their performance. In some countries, the energy used in housing is "free" or subsidised to the occupants. When they don't have to pay the full cost of the energy they use, they have less incentive to use it wisely. Where a large portion of the occupants would have great difficulty paying the full costs immediately, there is strong political pressure to continue the subsidies.

In the near term, the most successful technology transfer programmes won't be driven by their environmentally sound benefits alone, but because they also meet other human needs and wants. Examples include new energy-efficient buildings that are more comfortable and have lower energy costs, as well as lower GHG emissions; and the Kenya cookstove that is cheaper and healthier to use, and also lowers GHG emissions. The most successful technology programmes focus on new products and techniques that have multiple benefits.

The most successful mechanisms for technology transfer include government mandated energy and environmental standards for new buildings and equipment; information, education and labelling programmes; and government-supported research, development, and demonstration (RD&D) programmes. Governments also have a key role in creating a market environment for successful private sector-driven technology transfer through decisions on full cost pricing, financing, taxes, regulations, and customs and duties. Local governments can encourage successful community programmes by proactively identifying community-level needs and by encouraging and responding to community initiatives.

3.2 Transport

Transport- related GHG emissions are the second-fastest growing sector emissions world-wide as shown in Table TS5, but the transport sector is the least flexible to changes because of its almost dependence on petroleum-based fuels, current entrenched travel lifestyles, and lack of political will. Further, transportation is growing in all regions of the world, 3-4% annually in developed countries and higher in developing countries and air transportation is growing even more rapidly, about 5% annually world-wide. Controlling the associated GHG emissions pose serious challenges because a departure from current lifestyles and use patterns are required in addition to changes in travel movements.

However, a number of efforts such as performance gains, safety and energy intensity improvements have lead to the development of many technical and non-technical options that reduce GHG emissions. Most of these options are technically feasible but not all are economically feasible. The cost-effectiveness of most options varies among users. Resource availability, technical know-how, institutional capacity and local market are among the different factors that affect the cost of these options.

Improvements in vehicle technology such as improved engine design or vehicle body with the aim of reducing energy intensity can result in reduction of carbon emissions. Similarly, low cost actions such as proper maintenance and overall servicing of vehicles will lead to both reduction in fuel use and carbon emissions. The use of improved gasoline and diesel, and alternative transport fuels such as compressed natural gas (CNG), liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), methanol and ethanol can also lead to reductions in GHG emissions. Electric vehicles are penetrating in niche markets and hydrogen powered vehicles with the potential of much reduced GHG emissions could be feasible in the future. The energy intensity of aircrafts can be improved with engine modifications and new designs.

Wider use of public transport such as more comfortable and safer buses and non-motorised systems such as bicycles, rickshaws, and push-carts are examples of options with the supporting infrastructure such as dedicated lanes and improved signalling can result in significant environmental benefits including reduction of GHG emissions. Changes in transport infrastructure and systems to reduce travel trips improve modal choices, and increased freight volume per trip can result in reduction of GHG emissions. Also, the use of some non-transport options such as improved urban planning, and transport substitution using modern telecommunications options can lead to reduce trips and thus GHG reductions.

These options could be transferred within and across countries and regions of the world through different mechanisms. Options such as the manufacture and improvements of vehicle and aircraft, and developments in fuel technologies can be transferred through market oriented paths, while those related to transport infrastructure can be through non-market oriented paths such as bilateral and multilateral institutions. However, recently, private sector involvement in the sector is growing resulting in minimising the difference between these paths.

However, there are significant technological, economic and institutional barriers that can prevent transferring these options within and across countries and regions. Lack of suitable local firms to supply components and services required by large firms limit technology transfer within countries. Unavailability of technical and business information affects penetration within and across countries. Local firms suffer from limited access to capital, a barrier that also affects many countries especially those requiring transport infrastructure. A non-supportive environment for technology transfer for both technology supplier and recipient negatively affects the transfer of transport technologies and is amongst others reasons due to the lack of political will to take the necessary actions such as instituting standards with complimentary compliance regimes.

Various government policies and actions can facilitate the transfer of these options in addition to overcoming some of these barriers. They can also provide non-climate related benefits such as reduction in local air pollution and road congestion. Transfer of technological experiences between countries can stimulate promotion of low cost options such as proper vehicle and aircraft maintenance; enforceable regulatory systems for inspection and testing of vehicles and aircrafts; improved traffic management; and improvements in the quality of drivers. Promotion of policies aimed at reduction of transport intensities for passenger systems such new public transport modes, local market re-organisation, comfortable walkways, wider use of telecommunications, and new freight systems such as dematerialisation, regionalisation of production networks, and use of new logistics systems can lead to reductions in GHG emissions. Use of environmentally friendly transport infrastructure aimed at reduction in travel distance, affecting modal choice, and use of dedicated lanes are useful, but can be expensive, time-consuming and may require behavioural and lifestyle changes.

Encouraging co-operative technology programmes between countries and enterprises can result in the transfer of many of these options. These programmes may include joint R&D, design and manufacture, and information networks on management and specific technical skills. Encouraging sub-contracting among firms and enterprises will promote the transfer of technical and managerial skills. However, governments of technology recipients need to build further local capacities for information development and exchange, technology assessment and selection, negotiation abilities, and support infrastructure, as these will create the enabling environment for effective technology transfer and development.

The need for commitment from governments is crucial in stimulating technology transfer, both for technology outflows and technology inflows. Instituting policies that promote transport technology outflows such as special incentives for ESTs and build capacities to receive technology inflows through an improved business environment will be important in increasing the flow of ESTs in the transport sector.

Other reports in this collection