Bloomberg News

India Pushing Intellectual-Property Rights at UN Climate Talks

December 06, 2012

India is seeking a fund that it says would help protect intellectual-property rights while aiding in the transfer of clean-energy technologies to developing countries grappling with climate change.

The world’s fourth-largest greenhouse-gas emitter, needs the support to help meet its goal of cutting emissions intensity, or carbon dioxide released per unit of gross domestic product, by as much as 25 percent by 2020, Mira Mehrishi, India’s lead climate negotiator, said in an interview at United Nations climate treaty talks in Doha.

“If we don’t get cheap technology we will never be able to adapt’ to climate change, Mehrishi said.

India has long been at odds with industrialized nations such as the U.S. over intellectual property rights. Developing countries are concerned they can’t trust companies that hold valuable patents to make their innovations affordable.

‘‘This has been a long-standing issue with India,” said Jake Schmidt of the Natural Resources Defense Council, a group following the talks. “The claim is that the intellectual property rights raise the price and makes the more dependent on Western technologies and they’d like to have it for themselves at a low cost.”

India’s proposal is a fund that would be accessible to all developing countries and pay out royalties to patent holders while facilitating the transfer of technologies countries say they need to cut greenhouse gases and deal with the risks of a more volatile climate.

‘Think Positively’

“We understand that the person who holds the patent doesn’t want to give it away for free, but why can’t everybody think positively and come up with a solution?” Mehrishi said.

India’s proposal in Doha was rejected last night by the U.S. and other countries including Canada and Australia, said Schmidt, who observed the talks.

U.S. delegates, who have been firm in their stance against any measure that would weaken intellectual-property protections, didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

The issue is among the sticking points that rich and developing nations have been unable to agree upon in global talks. Delegates from more than 190 countries are working on a deal that would begin three years of negotiations for a treaty that would be agreed to in 2015 and take force in 2020.

To contact the reporter on this story: Kim Chipman in Doha at kchipman@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Reed Landberg at landberg@bloomberg.net


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