If climate change is to be addressed effectively in the long run, nations of all descriptions must pursue mitigation and adaptation strategies. But poor countries face a potential hurdle when it comes to clean-energy technologies—most of the relevant intellectual property is held in the rich world. Many observers argue that it's unfair and unrealistic to expect massive energy transformations in the developing world unless special allowances are made. Yet intellectual property rights are intended in part to spur the very innovation on which climate mitigation depends. Below, authors from Argentina, Egypt, and the United States debate this question: In developing countries, how great an impediment to the growth of low-carbon energy systems does the global intellectual property rights regime represent, and how could the burdens for poor countries be reduced?
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