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The present paper was prepared in the first half of 1991 in collaboration with three national sections of Friends of the Earth (Indonesia, Ghana and Canada). It was written by Craig Scott, with input and feedback from each section, and then edited by Robert Hornung. The purpose of the paper was to provide a discussion document of a “white paper” sort that could be used, as seen fit by Friends of the Earth and allied civil society organizations, in the advocacy efforts before, during and after either the official Earth Summit (of states) in Rio de Janeiro that led to various instruments including the 1992 Climate Change Convention – and/or used during the Alternative Earth Summit of transnational civil society actors that ran in parallel to the Earth Summit. The paper is being made available now, mostly as an exercise in historical documentation but also on the possibility that any of the reasoning and recommendations might yet have some relevance as the world, 30 years later (in the immediate lead-up to the last-chance Conference of the Parties in the United Kingdom in fall 2021), has failed to attend to the climate emergency that the report already took as its premise back in 1991.

The paper’s title captures well the focus of the paper. It is an exercise in setting out key principles of institutional design in view of the competition between moral philosophies of global environmental justice and dominant economic theories and associated state policy. It begins with an overview of the history, as of 1991, of general transfer-of-technology (TOT) South/North dynamics and then situates debate surrounding transfer-of-environmental-technology (TOET) as it had developed up to and within the negotiations around the Climate Change Convention. It proceeds to discuss a trio of goals that must be achieved with any climate-related TOET regime and then fleshed out key principles applicable on four issues: decision-making power and control; sources of financing; nature of normative commitments; and shape and extent of intellectual property rights. The second half of the paper then presents and discusses four ideal-type models for a climate-change TOET mechanism or regime and concludes with an argument for a hybrid regime that has features of the first three models discussed. The reasoning surrounding the recommended regime may yet be relevant to some of the decisions to come at COP 2021.