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NREL Reports Examine Economic Trade-offs of Owning versus Leasing a Solar Photovoltaic System

NREL - Wed, 01/21/2015 - 08:00
Two new reports from the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) examine the economic options customers face when deciding how to finance commercial or residential solar energy systems. NREL analysts found that businesses that use low-cost financing to purchase a photovoltaic (PV) system and homeowners who use solar-specific loans can save up to 30 percent compared with consumers who lease a PV system through a conventional third-party owner.
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Call For Nation To Be Forceful On Climate Change

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Tribune - THE College of the Bahamas’ Climate Change Initiative group is calling on The Bahamas to forcefully put forward its position on protecting the country’s rights and interest in global climate change negotiation meetings.
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Falling oil prices not all that bad for environment: Climate experts

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Economic Times - The sharp fall in oil prices has boosted sales of fuel-guzzling SUVs and in some cases eased pressure to improve public transport, but some climate experts also see a positive side as cheap crude has made exploration of new oil reserves in challenging regions non-viable.
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Kiribati call for climate change attention at rights review

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Radio New Zealand International - Kiribati has told a United Nations review of its human rights that the basic right of its people to survive climate change is a high priority.
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EU politicians seek to revive sluggish carbon market

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Reuters - European politicians are expected this week to back by a narrow majority early action to bolster prices on the EU carbon market and sharpen a weapon against climate change that recession has blunted.
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India calls for a paradigm shift in global attitudes towards climate change

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Economic Times - In what may be a strong signal of its approach towards future climate deal, India on January 19, 2015 called for a "paradigm shift" in global attitude towards climate change and urged nations of high solar potential to join hands so that they can provide low-cost clean energy to their citizens without being arm-twisted by rich nations who have been closely guarding their patented cutting-edge technology.
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Pope's climate-change stand deepens conservatives' distrust

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: AP - Conservative distrust of Pope Francis, which has been building in the U.S. throughout his pontificate, is reaching a boiling point over his plan to urge action on climate change — and to do so through a document traditionally used for the most important papal teachings.
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China cuts energy intensity by 4.8 pct in 2014

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Reuters - China beat a key energy efficiency target in 2014, cutting its energy intensity by 4.8 percent from a year earlier, the State Council said on Tuesday, as it tries to reduce pollution and greenhouse gas emissions.
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Food diversity under siege from global warming, UN says

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Thomson Reuters Foundation - Climate change threatens the genetic diversity of the world's food supply, and saving crops and animals at risk will be crucial for preserving yields and adapting to wild weather patterns, a U.N. policy paper said on Monday.
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Rural farmers coping with climate change

UNFCCC headlines - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 10:54
Source: Zambia Daily Mail - For Zambia, like many other countries where economies depend on agriculture as the chief sector, climate change is emerging as one of the major threats to sustainable development.
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NREL Releases the 2013 Renewable Energy Data Book, Detailing Increases in Installed Capacity

NREL - Tue, 01/20/2015 - 08:00
The newly released 2013 Renewable Energy Data Book illustrates United States and global energy statistics, including renewable electricity generation, renewable energy development, clean energy investments, and technology-specific data and trends. The Data Book is produced and published annually by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) on behalf of the Energy Department’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.
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NREL Scientist Brian Gregg Named AAAS Fellow

NREL - Mon, 01/19/2015 - 08:00
Brian Gregg, a scientist at the Energy Department’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL), has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). AAAS cited Gregg for “distinguished contributions to the field of solar photoconversion, particularly for developing a unified understanding of the photoconversion mechanism in the various cell types.”
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The Declaration on Patent Protection: Regulatory sovereignty under TRIPS.

The Declaration on Patent Protection: Regulatory sovereignty under TRIPS was drafted under the auspices of the Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition in Munich. It is the result of two decades of intensive research and prepared with the support of scholars all over the world. It has been issued in the context of the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the WTO and the adoption of the TRIPS Agreement on 15 April 1994.

The purpose of the Declaration indicates the interpretive scope of the TRIPS norms. Overall, it remains neutral – it is neither directed at states with a specific level of development nor does it aspire to provide recommendations for legal action. It only points out the regulatory discretion that national legislators enjoy when it comes to implementing their own patent systems.

According to the drafters

“Sovereign states should retain the discretion to adopt a patent system that best suits their technological capabilities as well as their social, cultural and economic needs and priorities, with the proviso that the exercise of such discretion must remain within the boundaries of international law. Taking into account the customary principles of interpretation of international law, this Declaration seeks to shed light on these boundaries. The purpose is to clarify the policy space that the Agreement on Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS Agreement) leaves to national legislators and judicial authorities with regard to the implementation and administration of their patent systems.”

The Declaration deals accordingly with the following aspects of patent law: a) general principles; b) differentiation of fields of technology; c) patentability and disclosure; d) scope of protection; e) exhaustion issues; f) exceptions to the scope of protection; g) compulsory licence; h) government use; i) undisclosed information; j) enforcement; k) goods in transit; and l) criminal measures.

The Declaration on Patent Protection shows that it is possible to design a patent system that reflects both the interest of inventors and right holders as well as the national public interest, without infringing the international obligations of WTO members and taking advantage of the TRIPS Agreement flexibilities.

You can access the document here

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International technology transfer: Current implementation and future course of action

Improving technology transfer flows and arrangements directed towards developing countries and LDCs has emerged as an important priority in a number of international forums such as the WTO, WIPO and beyond. It has also been a shared interest in the research agendas of ICTSD and the Centre for Global Development (CGD).

In this context, this expert meeting will discuss the draft of a new CGD paper entitled: ‘Europe Beyond Aid: Evaluating Europe’s contribution to the transfer of technology and knowledge to developing nations’ developed in cooperation with Walter Park (American University) and Owen Barder (CGD) who will present the paper at the dialogue. Beyond Europe, the meeting will also examine the status of current technology transfer discussions at both WTO and WIPO.

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Multilateral IP negotiations: Between rhetoric and reality

Multilateral intellectual property (IP) negotiations face multiple challenges in an increasingly complex global innovation landscape. From climate change to biodiversity and access to medicines, IP has become a cross-cutting issue with important public policy implications. Regional/bilateral trade agreements and plurilateral initiatives have also become a key feature of this global landscape.

In this context, what are the present realities and future challenges facing these negotiations? How can traditional differences be bridged to reach consensual outcomes? How to ensure coherence across the variety of international forums where IP issues are raised? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this dialogue which will bring together capital-based officials to interact with Geneva based IP negotiators, who will provide a practical perspective on how IP negotiations are conducted at forums such as the WTO and WIPO.

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First Geneva Dialogue on Traditional Knowledge

The International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development (ICTSD), the Australian Centre for Intellectual Property in Agriculture (ACIPA) and the Institute for Sustainable Development and International Relations (IDDRI) are holding the First Geneva Dialogue on Traditional Knowledge on Friday, March 21, 2014 (9h30 - 18h00).

The objective of this dialogue is to provide an informal space to debate key issues relevant for the effective development and implementation of an international regime for the protection of TK, with a primary focus on the ongoing process at the IGC.

The dialogue will thus bring together a multi-stakeholder group of country delegates, experts, academics and indigenous people representatives to discuss the current direction of the IGC negotiations on TK. The morning sessions will provide opportunities to discuss the IGC draft text on TK, its relationship to the CBD Nagoya Protocol, and the treatment of customary law and its role in securing effective TK protection. The contribution of proposals included in the recent IGC draft text on GRs to the prevention of TK misappropriation will also be examined. The afternoon sessions will address key issues in the draft TK text, as well as cross-cutting issues in the draft GRs text, such as: i) scope; ii) economic rights/beneficiaries; iii) shared TK and iv) limitations and exceptions.

If you wish to attend, please register in advance with Ms. Anna Jedrusik (Tel: +4122-9178855, email: ipprogramme@ictsd.ch). Places are limited.

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Multilateral IP negotiations: Between rhetoric and reality

Multilateral intellectual property (IP) negotiations face multiple challenges in an increasingly complex global innovation landscape. From climate change to biodiversity and access to medicines, IP has become a cross-cutting issue with important public policy implications. Regional/bilateral trade agreements and plurilateral initiatives have also become a key feature of this global landscape.

In this context, what are the present realities and future challenges facing these negotiations? How can traditional differences be bridged to reach consensual outcomes? How to ensure coherence across the variety of international forums where IP issues are raised? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this dialogue which will bring together capital-based officials to interact with Geneva based IP negotiators, who will provide a practical perspective on how IP negotiations are conducted at forums such as the WTO and WIPO.

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WIPO Ctte Nominates Gurry for Second Term

Francis Gurry is set to serve another six years as the head of the UN’s intellectual property body, after a selection committee nominated him for a second term last week. The recommendation is expected to be formally approved during May’s meeting of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) General Assembly.

Gurry’s first term as WIPO Director-General, which began in 2008, saw the adoption of two major treaties: the Marrakesh Treaty on copyright exceptions for the visually impaired and the Beijing Treaty on Audiovisual Performances. (See Bridges Weekly, 4 July 2013 and 27 June 2012, respectively)

This year’s Director-General race featured four candidates competing for the top slot, some of whom indicated that their candidature was motivated by a perception that WIPO was in need of strengthening as an institution. Traditionally when an incumbent UN agency chief is seeking re-election, they are endorsed by consensus, without any challengers.

Along with Gurry, who was nominated by Australia, the other candidates included Deputy Director-General Geoffrey Onyeama of Nigeria, Estonian Ambassador Jüri Seilenthal, and Panamanian Ambassador Alfredo Suescum.

Under WIPO procedures, a final nominee is chosen by the organisation’s Coordination Committee, which votes by secret ballot to whittle down the list of candidates. The committee serves as WIPO’s executive body, and is made up of 83 member states. The outcome is then sent to the full WIPO membership for final approval or rejection.

Last Thursday, in the first round of voting, Gurry received 46 votes, followed by Onyeama with 20, Suescum with 10, and Seilenthal with 7. The top three candidates were slated to advance to the second round. However, Onyeama and Suescum withdrew their candidacies later in the day, leaving Gurry as the consensus nominee.

In his acceptance speech, Gurry thanked the committee for its confidence in him. “The world of intellectual property is a challenging one, but one with great opportunities,” he said.

“I think that our task in the future is to manage those tensions that inevitably occur around intellectual property, innovation, and creativity in order to maximise the opportunities for all member states,” he added.

After approval in May, Gurry will begin his second term in October.

ICTSD reporting.

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The Shale Gas Revolution

As shale gas exploration and extraction ramps up in many parts of the world, its contribution to global climate change and effect on international trade are becoming increasingly complicated and indeterminate. Undoubtedly, shale gas is transforming energy prices, industrial competitiveness, and geopolitics in a number of countries. Further investigation and safeguards are therefore needed to ensure that the shale gas “revolution” fosters, rather than hinders, sustainable development.

This paper, authored by Thomas L. Brewer, a senior fellow of ICTSD, sheds light on these complex issues and calls on governments, industry and international agencies to evaluate the full effects of shale gas on the environment and climate change to determine how it can best fit into a sustainable development agenda.

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