Review

The Clean Industrial Revolution

Brainfood

The Clean Industrial Revolution

Product details

Product name: The Clean Industrial Revolution

Reviewer: Kate Arneman

Author: Ben McNeil

Publisher: Allen & Unwin

Price: $26.99

G Rating:

4

In the political sphere, environment is often pitted against economy as if the interests of each are irreconcilably opposed: an emissions trading scheme vs economic growth, or measures to fight climate change vs jobs.

In this measured, solidly argued book, climate scientist and economist Ben McNeil shows why and how Australia's transition to a low-carbon economy, the sooner the better, is vital for our long-term prosperity.

As the world puts a price on carbon, Australia's economy is in for a shock. Right now, we are the third most carbon-intensive economy after China and Saudi Arabia. (Carbon intensity here is a measure of economic output against carbon emissions.)

Essentially this is a result of our heavy reliance on coal for energy generation. Whatever we produce in Australia carries the inbuilt carbon cost of a fuel that produces more than double the carbon dioxide of natural gas. Coal is also our most lucrative export commodity. So what happens when those who have been buying Australian coal are looking to slash their own carbon emissions?

After spelling out why Australia needs to embrace a clean industrial revolution, McNeil gives examples of companies (Toyota and Google) and nations (Germany) who have already benefited from investing in the development of clean technological innovations. The positive message that comes out of the second half of the book is that Australia is well placed to do the same - provided government intervention encourages low-carbon interests instead of high-carbon interests (which McNeil likens to "protecting the typewriter industry at the start of the personal computer age").

If you're already convinced of the ethical and environmental reasons to combat climate change, read The Clean Industrial Revolution for an understanding of the economic imperative.

Printed on FSC-certified paper.

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