séminaire du CIRED

05/01 Matthieu Glachant (CERNA)

Invention and Global Diffusion of Technologies for Climate Change Adaptation: A Patent Analysis

Matthieu Glachant (CERNA)


Technology will play a major role in the global effort to adapt to climate change. However, little is known about the development and diffusion of adaptation technologies. In this paper, we use patent data to describe the global pace of adaptation innovation, identify the leading countries, track technology transfer and relate innovation trends to adaptation needs. We find that the number of patented adaptation inventions has increased between 1995 and 2015, but, unlike climate mitigation patents, it has remained constant as a share of total patented inventions. Adaptation innovation is highly concentrated, with China, Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the United States accounting for nearly two-thirds of global inventions. This concentration of innovation activity could in principle be compensated through international technology transfer, but we find only limited technology diffusion through the patent system. The international diffusion is particularly low in the agriculture sector and flood protection, and there is virtually no transfer of patented knowledge to low-income countries. As a result, we document a striking mismatch between countries’ adaptation needs and technological availability.

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