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EBRD holds climate technology transfer event at COP21 in Paris

By Anthony Williams

EBRD holds climate technology transfer event at COP21 in Paris

Side event highlights the importance of climate change on an international scale

At the Paris COP21 climate talks this morning, the EBRD held a half-day side event on climate technology transfer issues.

Led by Josué Tanaka, the EBRD Managing Director for Energy Efficiency and Climate Change, the session opened with an inspirational address from José María Figueres, Chairman of Rocky Mountain Institute/Carbon War Room and ex-President of Costa Rica. Mr Figueres stressed the environmental urgency of climate change in a difficult global context characterised by weakness in economic development, political tensions and the decline of multilateralism. He called for the establishment of a Climate Change Marshall plan to trigger an acceleration in the rate of climate technology deployment. The world took a similar approach to address the financial crisis in 2008.

Philippe Benoit of the International Energy Agency (IEA) then delivered a keynote presentation highlighting that 70 per cent of the cost-effective carbon emission reductions are ‎happening outside the OECD in emerging economies, especially in East and South Asia. However, the core of technology development still happens within the OECD. He also highlighted the need to customise policy support in technology deployment ‎through to the stage of maturity for specific technologies.

A lively panel discussion then followed with the participation of several international experts. Professor Ambuj Sagar of IIT Delhi stressed the lack of strategic and execution capacity in emerging economies that hinders the optimisation of the link between economic development and emission reduction.

Eric Masanet of the‎ IEA reflected on the lack of data as a barrier to design effective policy schemes for supporting technology transfer, while Prof Ralph Sims invited the audience to consider lessons learned and the experience accumulated globally to improve the effectiveness of programmes and initiatives in technology transfer.

Prof Byrne from the University of Sussex analysed issues associated with access to finance and the cost of finance, especially for small and medium-sized enteprises (SMEs) and rural communities.

The final discussion saw the EBRD, joined by the operating entities of the UNFCCC’s Technology Mechanism as well as the Financial Mechanism, together discuss what they would like to see as an outcome from COP21. Jukka Uosukainen of the Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN) expressed the need for better coordination between the various operating entities, to increase effectiveness of existing funding. There were also calls for increased funding for the Technology Mechanism entities. Kunihiko Shimada from the Technology Executive Committee (TEC) provided an update for the audience on the negotiations, and observed that countries needed to become much more focused on reaching agreement about technology-related issues.

Tao Wang from the Green Climate Fund updated the audience on various initiatives that they have launched recently, such as for the private sector or for work on project feasibility. Masako Ogawa from the GEF provided an update on the GEF’s considerable initiatives in technology transfer, including funding for the EBRD’s FINTECC programme.

Terry McCallion of the EBRD spoke about the need for balancing the provision of policy support, financing and technical support to projects, all at the correct stage of the project timescale.

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