US fears loss of green energy efficiency technology

John Herbert energyLAB energy conservation consultant Hong Kong

A report in today’s Standard highlights one of the stumbling blocks to energy efficiency progress.  Overseas companies often cite the fear that bringing products into China risks loss of their IP rights because it could be reverse engineered, copied, and then sold has home-grown product in China.

US fears China theft of energy-efficiency technology
(06-23 11:53)

Access to green technology is becoming a growing stumbling block in global efforts to fight climate change, with US lawmakers bristling at what they see as China’s attempt to ”steal” US know-how.

China and India have led calls for developed nations to share technology to help them battle global warming as the clock ticks to a December meeting in Copenhagen meant to seal a successor to the Kyoto Protocol.

The US House of Representatives this month unanimously voted to make it US policy to prevent the Copenhagen treaty from ”weakening” US intellectual property rights on a wind, solar and other eco-friendly technologies.

Congressman Rick Larsen, a member of President Barack Obama’s Democratic Party who authored the measure, said the United States was caught between concern both over the climate and its soaring trade deficit with China.

”The United States can be part of China’s solution for the problems that they admittedly have with energy efficiency and emissions. And I think legitimately we want to be part of that solution – we’re the two largest emitters of carbon dioxide in the world,” Larsen said.

”But we need to couple being part of that solution with making it part of the solution on the trade deficit as well,” he said ahead of the measure’s approval.

Representative Mark Kirk, a Republican who joined Larsen on a recent trip to China, said that climate change is the most contentious issue during talks with Beijing.

Kirk said the Chinese essentially are seeking ”the stealing of all intellectual property” related to energy efficiency and climate change.

Kirk warned that China’s position could change the political dynamics in Washington, where promoters of a bill to force emission cuts say the United States stands to create millions of jobs in a new green economy.

”Right now a number of green industries like the climate change bill coming out. But if an international treaty sanctions the theft of their intellectual property, then there will be hardly any green jobs built in the United States,” Kirk said.

Politics is politics, with little in common with the real world. The major US manufacturers already have production facilities in China, serving China and the Asian market,  and if we consider the poor uptake of currently available technology hardly stellar.  Chinese firms in China already appreciate loss of their own IP to local copycats, would future green technologies be under such a desperate threat?

– John Herbert, consultant

About John Herbert, REA

John has with more than 30 years of engineering experience gained across three continents and he is Registered Energy Assessor REA.
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