Technologies can help strengthen the resilience of our economy against existential climate-risks. We investigate climate change adaptation technologies (CCATs) in US patents to understand (1) historical patterns and possible drivers of innovation; (2) scientific and technological requirements to develop and use CCATs; and (3) CCATs’ potential technological synergies with mitigation. First, in contrast to mitigation, innovation in CCATs only slowly takes off, indicating a relatively low awareness of investors for solutions to cope with climate risks. We discuss how historical trends in environmental regulation, energy prices, and public support may have contributed to patenting in CCATs. Second, CCATs form two main clusters: science-intensive ones in agriculture, health, and monitoring technologies; and engineering-intensive ones in coastal, water, and infrastructure technologies. Analyses of technology-specific scientific and technological knowledge bases inform directions for how to facilitate advancement, transfer and use of CCATs. Lastly, CCATs show strong technological complementarities with mitigation as more than 25% of CCATs bear mitigation benefits. While not judging about the complementarity of mitigation and adaptation in general, our results suggest how policymakers can harness these technological synergies to achieve both goals simultaneously.


Hötte, K. & Jee, S.J. (2022). 'Knowledge for a warmer world: A patent analysis of climate change adaptation technologies'. Technological Forecasting and Social Change Volume 183, October 2022, 121879, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.techfore.2022.121879
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