Climate change exposes the trade-off inherent in intellectual property protection.
Research and development is expensive; companies won't invest in it if they don't expect to profit. Traditionally, profits from new technologies are provided by the exclusive rights granted by the patent system. But by granting patent rights, we ensure that new innovations will have a limited reach.
So how do we both create new technologies and spread them as widely as possible? We need climate-friendly technology to be used everywhere, including in developing countries with limited resources.
This episode of Public Ethics Radio explores the debate about intellectual-property policy for clean technologies.