BEIJING Rich countries must rethink
intellectual property protection on energy-saving technology if
costs of such technology are to be within reach of developing
nations, a top Chinese energy official said on Wednesday.
China, which is set to surpass the United States as the
world's top emitter of heat-trapping carbon dioxide, has called
on rich countries to focus on technology transfer to help it
"I think we have to resolve a lot of barriers on the
so-called intellectual property rights issues," Zhou Dadi, of
China's Energy Research Institute, told reporters.
"That means if you really want to help China to speed up
the technology transfer process, we have to really think about
how to help China cover the high costs. Most of them are not
based on material, they're based on intellectual property
Asked if China would raise that issue in negotiations
opening in Bali next week that will begin the process of
finding a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, Zhou said: "I think
so -- it should."
Zhou spoke at the China launch of the U.N. Human
Development Report, which called on rich countries to cut
emissions 30 percent by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050 and for
developing nations to cut emissions 20 percent by 2050.
But China has repeatedly said it will not agree to fixed
targets on its emissions, fearing caps could impact its rapid
Instead, it says rich countries responsible for most of the
greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere should bear the
brunt of emissions reductions and should help poorer nations by
transferring energy-saving technologies.
The United Nations announced on Wednesday a program to
support such technological innovation that brings together U.N.
agencies with China's energy policy-setting National
Development and Reform Commission and its Commerce Ministry.
"It will focus on the provision of the best international
expertise to inform and support China's work and to build
further, to strengthen, China's capacity," said Hans Troedsson,
vice chairman of the U.N. Theme Group on Energy and
The partnership will initially be funded with $12 million
over three years and will also aim to ensure new technologies
are disseminated to the local level, where officials have
typically prioritized economic growth over environmental
Chinese officials gave mixed views on whether the companies
and countries that benefit from using China as a cheap source
of exports should bear some responsibility in helping it curb
pollution and offset emissions.
"They shouldn't have preferential treatment, but nor should
they face discrimination," Commerce Ministry official Wang Yue
said of multinational corporations.
Investment by such companies was key to China's development
and should not be discouraged, he said.
But Huang Jing, of the Ministry of Science and Technology,
said if multinationals benefit from China, they should also
(Editing by David Fogarty)