Fraunhofer Institute for
Systems and Innovation Research ISI

Economic perspective on international transfer of climate technologies to newly industrializing and developing countries



The international diffusion of climate technologies is key to addressing climate change at a global level. Climate technologies are currently, for the most part, being developed in advanced countries and the scale and speed of diffusion are insufficient, considering that in the case of a global public “bad” such as climate change, all countries would benefit from reduced emissions from the wide diffusion of climate technologies and knowledge. Therefore, accelerating international technology transfer is seen as a requirement to provide newly industrializing countries (NIC) and developing countries (DC) with the best technological options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but also to adapt to climatic changes. Based on article 4.5 of the UNFCCC, the debate on international climate negotiations increasingly turns on financial schemes to facilitate technology transfer. However, the international transfer of climate technologies depends on various influences and is not only a question of the availability of funds.

Target + tasks

MERIT will address several additional aspects:

  • The specific properties of climate technologies (e.g. long life span, integration into complex energy systems, and high impact of policy measures);

  • The public choice of technology transfer from the perspective of North and South;

  • The specific properties of technology transfer from North to South, in particular under the influence of transnational regimes, such as the UNFCCC, WTO or TRIPS;

  • The influence of different transfer modes, e.g. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI), licensing, migration of workforce, or know-ledge embodied in the trade of goods, on the diffusion of climate technologies in NICs and DCs.

The following scientific and application-oriented objectives are envisaged:

  • To enhance the understanding of climate technologies and their specific properties relevant for technology transfer (e.g. degree of technological sophistication, economies of scale, importance of tacit knowledge components);

  • To analyze theoretically the influence of unilateral technology transfer on the setting of emission standards in North and South and the outcome of different institutional settings;

  • To analyze theoretically and empirically the relevance of different channels of international technology transfer for climate technologies and their impact on diffusion in the recipient countries, based on econometric methods and case studies and

  • To simulate possible impacts of different policy options on the international transfer of climate technologies;

  • To assist political decision making at the national and transnational level with regard to the crafting of climate agreements and the design of international technology cooperation;

  • To clarify the role of innovative firms as developers and transfer agents for climate technologies;

  • To give advice to innovative companies regarding the design of technology transfer towards NICs and DCs.

The dissemination strategy of MERIT envisages an interactive communication process between academics and practitioners in politics, international organizations and firms. This will increase the quality and usefulness of the results and also creates a sense of ownership among the target audience and thereby enhances the chances for extensive exploitation of the research results. The research will be performed by a consortium of the Fraunhofer Institute for System and Innovation Research in Karlsruhe and the Chair of Innovation Economics at the Technical University of Berlin.

Running Period

01.01.2012 - 30.06.2014




TU Berlin


Peuckert, J.; Bodenheimer, M.; Gandenberger, C. (2015): The role of international trade for the global build-up of innovation capabilities in the wind industry, in: Innovation & Development.

Gandenberger, C.; Bodenheimer, M.; Schleich, J.; Orzanna, R.; Macht, L. (2015): Factors driving international technology transfer: empirical insights from a CDM project survey. Climate Policy, DOI: 10.1080/14693062.2015.1069176.

Gandenberger, C. (2015): Theoretical Perspectives on the International Transfer and Diffusion of Climate Technologies. Working Papier S12/2015, Karlsruhe.

QIN Haibo; WANG Yi; TAN Xian-Chun; HUANG Bao-Rong; GANDENBERGER,C.; LÜNINCK Freiherr Von,B.(2015): A Comparative Study of Climate-related Aid among the United States,Germany, and Japan: Implications for China‘s South-South Cooperation Concerning Climate Change, China Soft Science, 2015 (2), pp. 22-34 (in Chinese).

Peukert, J.; Schmid, C.; Gandenberger, C. (2015): International Transfer of Climate Technologies: Which factors Influence the Firm's Choice of Transfer Channel? Working Paper S09/2015, Karlsruhe.

Sartorius, C.; Strauch, M.; Gandenberger, C. (2015): International Transfer of Technologies for Climate Adaptation - The Case of Membrane Bio-Reactors, Working Paper S08/2015, Karlsruhe.

Gandenberger, C.; Unger, D.; Strauch, M.; Bodenheimer, M. (2015): The International Transfer of Wind Power Technology to Brazil and China, Working Paper S07/2015, Karlsruhe.

Gandenberger, C.; Peuckert, J.; Christmann-Budian, S.; Bodenheimer, M. (2014): Wie können die Voraussetzungen für den Transfer klimafreundlicher Techno­logien in die Schwellen- und Entwicklungsländer verbessert werden? In: Econet Monitor 5/2014, Deutsche Außenhandelskammer China (Hrsg.), S. 27-29.