BOOKCASE : The Clean Industrial Revolution

• Ben McNeil
• Allen & Unwin
• RRP $35

Its focus may be Australia, but Ben McNeil’s overview of the seismic shift in how more carbon-conscious world will be generating both energy and economic prosperity in years to come has huge resonance for Kiwi business and political leaders.
A few of the latter have been getting free copies of The Clean Industrial Revolution courtesy of local lobby group that is busy highlighting the huge opportunity tucked into the threat of climate change. The world needs whole lot of new clean technology innovation so why not just get our collective skates on and focus very clearly on providing it.
As McNeil points out, clean-tech isn’t just wind and solar technologies but covers range of technological innovation. And nations, like ours, that have innovative capacity and history of scientific intellectual capital are already on the starting line. So – why waste time on rearguard action in vain attempt to push back the waves of change that will inevitably wash over our economy?
While he highlights the moral challenge of dealing with climate change, McNeil acknowledges that financial signals are needed to tip market favour toward clean tech rather than, for instance, designer dog socks. He also notes that government intervention in favour of public good is critical to avoid the sort of individual maximisation that has successfully destroyed the Murray-Darling “food bowl”. How true!
I just hope that Kiwi politicians not only found this an accessible and compelling read (as I did) but have the courage to act on the message it delivers.

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