POLICY BRIEF: Innovation for Climate Compatible Development for the 'Bottom of the Pyramid'

POLICY BRIEF: Innovation for Climate Compatible Development for the 'Bottom of the Pyramid'

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Author: CDKN
Organisation: Climate Strategies
Tags: green growth, low carbon economy, low carbon energy

Significant parts of the world’s population continue to lack access to modern and clean forms of energy, with concomitant human, social, and economic costs for this group. While technology is often seen as key to addressing this challenge, translating this potential contribution into reality is complicated by the complexity of the problem and the relative paucity of the available resources. Many of these deprived people live in least-developed countries, but, surprisingly, they also are in emerging economies such as India, South Africa and Brazil. The energy situation of this group has implications for their human, social, and economic development. The development and diffusion of suitable technologies can play a significant role in the mitigation of this situation, often leading to development and climate benefits.

This briefing paper, Innovation for Climate Compatible Development for the 'Bottom of the Pyramid', will discuss how to organize and advance technological innovation – and key aspects of innovation policies – to contribute to climate-compatible development for the ‘bottom of the pyramid,’ drawing on lessons and experiences from the literature as well as two specific application areas, household energy and rural electricity. Basically, deployment of suitable technologies at large scale requires that close attention be paid to technology development/adaptation to ensure that the resulting technologies and products seen by users as offering useful services and at a price point that they (or the agencies supporting the deployment of these technologies) can afford. Innovative models, such as innovation prizes or advanced market commitments, may complement traditional ‘R&D’ push approaches to the development of such technology.

The paper is part of the CDKN-funded project, Fostering low-carbon technology innovation and transfer: an in-depth study, which aims to broaden and refocus national and international policy agendas in order to improve prospects for enhancing technology development, diffusion and transfer. It was designed to translate the latest academic insights into policy, explore national and international instruments for advancing technology (including the emerging UNFCCC Technology Mechanism and bilateral initiatives), and examine technology value chains as case studies of where action could be taken.

Further reading:

Project homepage: Fostering low-carbon technology innovation and transfer: an in-depth study
Policy brief: The Technology Mechanism under the UNFCCC: Ways Forward
Policy brief: Low carbon technology for the rising middle class
Policy brief: Innovation systems in developing countries

 

Image credit: Neil Palmer/CIAT

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