Developing countries have an edge over the industrialized north when it comes to climate innovation, former White House advisor Kelly Sims Gallagher, now director of the Tufts University Center for International Environment and Resource Policy, told a conference in the UK earlier this month.
“Developing countries have several advantages that put them in a good position to innovate,” SciDev.Net reports, citing an interview with Gallagher. “There is less existing built infrastructure, which tends to create a lock-in effect, making it difficult to adopt cleaner and more efficient technologies. And the cost of renewables and other energy efficiency technologies is now low enough to make investing in them a sensible economic decision.”
Gallagher, who advised President Barack Obama on the U.S.-China climate deal, which laid the groundwork for the Paris Agreement, cited China, India, Ethiopia, and Bangladesh as countries that are investing in industries of the future. “I actually think the least-developed countries could be the pioneers in those technologies” and sell their products to industrialized countries, she said. “Ethiopia has written an innovation strategy that very explicitly includes a focus on adaptation and resilience technologies,” while Bangladesh is taking a strategic look at technology innovation, “not only as a matter of survival but also as an economic opportunity.”