Invention and transfer of climate change–mitigation technologies: a global analysis


This article uses the European Patent Office Worldwide Patent Statistical Database to examine the geographic distribution and global diffusion of inventions in thirteen climate-mitigation technologies since 1978. The data suggest that until 1990 innovation was driven mostly by energy prices. Since then, environmental policies, and, more recently, climate policies, have accelerated the pace of innovation. The data also indicate that innovation is highly concentrated in three countries—Japan, Germany, and the United States—which together account for 60 percent of total inventions. Surprisingly, the contribution of emerging economies is far from negligible as China and Brazil together account for about 10 percent of total inventions. However, inventions from emerging economies are less likely to find markets beyond their borders, suggesting that inventions from emerging economies have less value. More generally, international transfers occur mostly between developed countries (73 percent of all exported inventions). Exports from developed countries to emerging economies are still limited (22 percent) but are growing rapidly, especially to China.


Dechezleprêtre, A., Glachant, M., Haščič, I., Johnstone, N., and Ménière, Y. June 2011. Invention and transfer of climate change–mitigation technologies: a global analysis. Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, v.5, pp.109-30.