The Green Technology Book aims to inspire climate action by showing what solutions innovation and technology can provide. We showcase examples of proven, frontier and horizon technologies identified through broad searches and chosen according to relevant criteria.
The Green Technology Book 2022 is for anyone who has ever wondered about climate adaptation technologies. It is for those seeking concrete solutions with which to adapt their crops, protect their homes and prepare for the adverse impacts of climate change. It is for those curious to know what adaptation technologies are available today and what in the near future – and importantly how to access them. It is for those seeking to invest. It is also for those who design our cities and buildings, and for those who lead our communities, cities and countries along a more resilient path.
By drawing out examples of solutions, we aim to inspire action. The Green Technology Book is not a comprehensive collection of all adaptation technologies. Nor does it cover all the areas where adaptation technologies could be relevant. We have chosen instead to focus on three broad areas where we believe climate change adaptation is and will be particularly critical. They are Agriculture and forestry, Water and coastal regions, and Cities.
We welcome greater visibility for local innovation, especially from those countries most affected by climate change. Often the best technology may not be the one on the market but the one available locally but not widely known about, maybe reviving ancient skills and insights. The Green Technology Book is more than a catalogue meant for inspiration but a living project where everyone can contribute. The publication links to the free public WIPO GREEN database of needs and green technologies, where users can create a profile and share their climate solutions and needs.
How we wrote the book
For the purposes of the publication, we considered a broad set of scientific articles, gray literature as well as technology databases developed by private, public and civil society entities and organizations. Search strings included broad terms related to climate adaptation paired with key terms for the three thematic areas, and key terms related to specific technologies (“desalination,” “seawall,” “fertilizer” and so on). Delimiting technology areas was greatly helped by adaptation taxonomies developed by the United Nations Climate Technology Centre and Network (CTCN), UNEP Copenhagen Climate Centre, and the Korean Green Technology Center. Translation engines enabled us to search articles in several languages to ensure a broad geographical spread.
Owners of the technologies identified were contacted, and all were uploaded to the WIPO GREEN database of needs and green technologies, either by the technology owner or by us at WIPO.
How we found the technologies
Throughout the publication, we operate with three concepts: innovation, solution, and technology. While sometimes used almost interchangeably, they do have different meanings. We here utilize the term innovation to cover all intellectual creativity that can result in a solution. Solution broadly means to deploy the output of this innovation to solve a specific challenge. Technology is a broad term, but we apply it more narrowly to any physical entity or technique, with or without additional equipment, that is deployed to resolve a specific challenge. We are primarily interested in a technology’s potential for responding to impacts from climate change. We therefore cover technologies broadly, ranging from the very simple to the highly complex. Often the scope of climate technologies is expanded to include enabling mechanisms such as ownership and institutional arrangements that pertain to the technology (e.g., water user associations or pricing schemes). While recognizing the importance of such mechanisms, we focus mainly on tangible technologies or actual techniques.
It is important to emphasize that the technologies presented here have not been tested or in any way vetted by WIPO, and that we rely on publicly available material. Inclusion in the Green Technology Book is therefore not a recommendation of a particular technology. Technologies presented here should be seen as examples of a technology area, of which there may be many similar offerings which to our knowledge are in no way inferior. Photos illustrating the technologies are used with permission from the technology owners. When a permission could not be obtained, we use relevant stock-photos. Photos of technologies may therefore not represent the actual technology.
The appropriateness of a technology is often highly context-specific and relates to factors other than geographical location. Therefore no recommendations on where, when or how the technologies are suitable have been provided. Such an assessment should always be made with the involvement of local experts and stakeholders. Technology owners can freely upload their technology to the WIPO GREEN database and thereby become part of the project.
The following criteria were used when selecting technologies for the Green Technology Book 2022:
- relevance for climate change adaptation;
- relevance for the three thematic areas: 1) agriculture and forestry, 2) water and coastal regions, and 3) cities;
- pertain to:
- a product or service available for purchase or licensing;
- a product or service available for free/open source;
- a guidebook on application of a method or technique;
- a research project or similar (for horizon technologies).
In addition, the following factors were taken into consideration:
- anticipated impact from implementation;
- availability of sufficient quality information or third-party endorsements;
- market availability (for proven and frontier technologies);
- cost in relation to impact;
- geographical balance;
- business balance (large- and small-scale businesses, start-ups, research teams, non-governmental organizations and so on);
- no harm principle.
We have divided technologies into three broad groups in order to indicate their maturity and availability. Proven technologies have been on the market for some time and therefore rely on a tried and tested concept. Frontier technologies are available, but still relatively new, and as such possibly less validated in a real-world setting. Horizon technologies are those new concepts being developed and expected to become available within a few years’ time; that is to say, technologies that are realistic and likely to become available soon.
When presenting technologies, we have included a few classifiers as an easy guidance to relevance for a reader. We have aimed for a broad representation of technologies at various stages of complexity and readiness. We classify technologies as either a low, medium or high level of complexity. This serves as an indication only and does not follow a strict definition of complexity. It reflects the level of human, material and monetary resources required to implement the solution. Meanwhile, technology maturity was broadly assessed according to the standard Technology Readiness Level (TRL) definition. According to this measure, horizon technologies have the lowest readiness level but are still close to full development (TRL 3–6), whereas proven and frontier technologies are validated and ready for to be scaled-up if not already done (TLR 7–9).
We hope that you will be inspired by the creativity, ingenuity and diversity of the technologies that we have chosen to present. We welcome feedback and suggestions, which can be sent to us through the WIPO GREEN website.
This publication, WIPO, and WIPO GREEN are in no way affiliated with any of the featured companies. Nor does this publication imply that other non-featured companies or technology solutions do not exist. All content in this publication is provided in good faith and based on information provided directly from the providers and/or using publicly available materials. Photos of technologies may not necessarily depict the actual technology. Therefore WIPO and WIPO GREEN disclaim any warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy, adequacy, validity, reliability, availability, or completeness of any information provided. WIPO and WIPO GREEN are not responsible for any negative outcomes as a result of actions taken based on information in this publication.
This publication contains links to external websites that are not provided nor maintained by WIPO or WIPO GREEN. Responsibility for the content of the listed external sites lies with their respective publishers. These links are provided for contact and informational purposes only; WIPO and WIPO GREEN do not sponsor or endorse any of the content therein. While every effort has been made to establish the legitimacy of each linked site, WIPO and WIPO GREEN disclaim any warranties, express or implied, as to the accuracy of the information in the linked content, and also disclaim any responsibility regarding the potential for data breaches as a result of accessing the links.
CTCN (2017). CTCN taxonomy. Copenhagen: UN Climate Technology Centre & Network (CTCN). Available at: https://www.ctc-n.org/resources/ctcn-taxonomy
UNEP-DTU (2021). Taxonomy of climate change adaptation technology. A guidebook for countries conducting a technology needs assessment for adaptation. Copenhagen: United Nations Environment Programme- Danish Technical University (UNEP-DTU) Partnership, Green Technology Center. Available at: https://tech-action.unepdtu.org/publications/report-taxonomy-of-climate-change-adaptation-technology/.