The surge in new patents tapers off for most climate change mitigation technologies later on (our graph), perhaps in part reflecting the onset of recession. However, it is most likely due to usual time lags associated with filing and processing patent applications. Nevertheless, if Kyoto is a reference, then a new international agreement on climate change would reduce the uncertainty innovators hate, and hopefully give fresh impetus to new innovations and solutions in green technologies.
In the meantime, government policy could help more, as the OECD Innovation Strategy 2010 underlines, by ensuring the basis for innovation is in place in areas such as research spending, entrepreneurship incentives, technology infrastructure in broadband, for instance. Another solution would be to boost demand for these innovative products themselves by engaging in greener procurement.
OECD (forthcoming), The OECD Innovation Strategy–Measuring and Monitoring Innovation, Paris. See