Innovation and the resulting technological change are expected to play a major role in easing the anthropogenic pressure on the environment whilst allowing for development and growth. Although crucial, the dynamics of innovation, adoption and diffusion of energy technologies are yet to be fully understood. In particular, the lessons learned from the rich innovation literature, ranging from economics to engineering and history, need to be extended and confirmed with respect to technologies that can help ease the energy security issue, climate change and other environmental challenges.

Validation is necessary in light of the double externality problem which characterises climate change-related innovation: on the one hand, pollution levels are too high because the polluters do not bear the full cost of their actions. On the other hand, innovation levels are lower than optimal since the innovators can rarely fully appropriate the benefits deriving from the new technology. This is particularly true when talking about large scale technologies, as power generation technologies, where returns on innovation are largely uncertain and far in the future. The interaction of these two externalities on the magnitude and rate of technological innovation still needs to be appropriately addressed.

In the last two decades, several empirical contributions took up these endeavours and obtained a number of important results on the role of demand and supply determinants of innovation and the importance of environmental policy in spurring innovation.

However, many questions still remain to be answered:

  • What is the interaction between climate policy, on one side, and innovation policy on the other side?
  • Does the protection of IPRs favour or hinder the diffusion and transfer of adaptation and mitigation technologies to developing economies?
  • Can results obtained for Western countries be confirmed for fast-developing countries such as BRICs?
  • Can the empirical estimates presented so far help the modelling community?

This workshop is an opportunity for researchers coming from different backgrounds to present cutting-edge research on themes related to the empirical analysis of drivers of innovation using patent data with a specific attention to clean energy technologies.

Researchers will present their latest research in a formal workshop setting on May 19th, 2011. On the following morning, May 20th, those interested will have a chance to take part in a brainstorming session devoted to identifying future avenues of research and coordinating research efforts.  

The event is organized by the International Center for Climate Governance (a joint initiative of Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei and Fondazione Giorgio Cini), the ICARUS project  in collaboration with OECD, Tilburg University and the Euro-Mediterranean Centre for Climate Change.

The workshop is open to a selected audience.