Germany pioneers development of cleantech

Advances in the transport sector are one of the areas in which Europe has secured its status as number 1 in technology development. [FaceMePls/Flickr]

Germany is a leader in climate-friendly innovations, with more sustainable-technology patents registered last year than by any other country. EURACTIV Germany reports.

A study by the European Patent Office (EPO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has shown that Germany registered more climate-friendly technology last year than any other nation across the world. The report also revealed that such innovations have increased remarkably worldwide, with a 500% rise recorded between 1995 and 2011. 51,000 patents were registered in this period.

In regard to providing low-CO2 technologies, Europe is top dog, as it accounts for nearly 6% of innovations in this sector. Half of this contribution is provided by Germany, according to the study, which was published within the context of the ongoing COP21 summit in Paris.

>>Read: Live: #COP21 – the second week

As a result of this laudable achievement, the carbon intensity of European GDP dropped by 30% in the last decade. This success ties in with the European Union’s October 2014 commitment to reduce greenhouse gases by 40% by 2030, in comparison with 1990 levels.

Climate goals play their part

The authors of the report pointed out that the number of climate-protection innovations has increased rapidly since the signing of the Kyoto Protocol in 1997: “There are many indications that the introduction of climate-protection measures, such as taxes on pollutants or feed-in tariffs for renewables, has, in many countries, played an important role in this development.”

>>Read: COP21 could trigger a cleantech arms race

Most developments in climate protection in Europe, as well as globally, have come in the clean energy sector, as well as transportation and construction, according to the study. Around 80% of European innovations in these sectors have been developed by Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, Spain and the UK. Other countries such as Greece and Portugal have also shown a degree of high-specialisation in climate-friendly innovations.

>>Read: Smart cities and urban laboratories

Europe is not only a leader in cleantech development, it also blazes the trail for the trade in low-carbon goods. The EPA report illustrates that the continent was the largest importer and second-largest exporter of climate-friendly technologies during the period of time that was analysed. At the same time, the region is the main source of foreign direct investment on any continent.

Subscribe to our newsletters