Don’t Kill the Green Goose
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There is a common theme in anti-Intellectual Property circles that business can't be trusted to provide solutions because it is only interested in "profits". So even though we are strong believers in technological solutions to climate change, I will not use our principles as an example, but rather one of the climate change principles from a staunch environmentalist who, quite frankly, hates the Chamber:
Strengthen the economy through, for example, green jobs, energy efficiency, creating new industries, reducing imports, and fostering exports. Shift from paying for fuel to paying for labor.
While we will disagree on the reducing imports part (every country should maximize their production efficiency, and the efficiencies of others), the rest is pretty close to our own position, and sounds like a good idea. And that is where it all starts, with an idea. Ideas (or intellectual property in the parlance), attract the money, create the jobs, find the new technologies and make all social improvement possible.
According to a new study by the Institute for Policy Innovation (IPI) "the clean energy revolution" can not occur without determined promotion and protection of the intellectual property making green technology possible. From the IPI release:
In "Don’t Kill the Green Goose," IPI senior research fellow Chris Israel writes that, amidst all the various urgings to promote the clean energy industry, there must be a global approach that prioritizes real world impact, respects intellectual property, and respects the innovation process.
For example, Israel anticipates an impasse when the desire to deploy green technology to the nations that need it the most may not have the equal will to protect the IP making that technology possible.
"There may be an emerging quid-pro-quo in which developing countries will agree to take steps to enhance their environmental protections if they are simply given the technology to do it," said Israel. But green technology comes at a price.
"Clean energy technology will come in hundreds of variations and will take billions of dollars to develop, test and deploy," said Israel. "To sustain this model, there must be a truly global marketplace where IP and innovation are rewarded according to economic drivers such as value, quality, and demand."
Israel suggests a balance between rewarding investments in the industry and the demands placed on the technology’s distribution:
- Avoid using protection policies (i.e. tariffs) at the expense of deploying important technologies quickly.
- Seek efficiencies in moving innovations to the market.
- Respect the IP that empowers advances in clean technology.
"The need to achieve technological breakthroughs to provide cleaner, more efficient, cheaper and more abundant sources of energy may indeed be the race-to-the-moon for this generation of American inventors, scientists, and entrepreneurs," said Israel.
"Policymakers must ensure a global environment that respects and rewards the innovation and intellectual property protection necessary to meet the energy challenges of the future," he concluded.