Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Book review Ben McNeil The Clean Revolution

Photo from jety's photostream

Book review of Ben McNeil’s new book The Clean Industrial Revolution

I recall hearing environmentalist David Suzuki speaking during a visit to Perth in 1999. He was addressing the global challenge of climate change. Someone from the audience asked him: “can science save us?” and Suzuki replied that he wasn’t convinced that it could.

Since that time our region is experiencing the impact of climate change, with fires and record low rainfalls in much of southern Australia. Perth rainfall in 2009 so far is 60% below average.

Ben McNeil’s timely new book, The Clean Industrial Revolution, takes us through the latest scientific research, and provides strong economic arguments that support urgent action on climate. Australia faces a particular challenge in the new low carbon age. Our vulnerable position as a high carbon, high energy economy is isolating Australia from the rest of the developed world and our trading partners. The book outlines many opportunities for business in the new carbon free environment which will include new “green collar jobs”. But, as McNeil points out, business will always act in self interest, so government must lead the way with legislation to introduce a strong carbon trading scheme. Our Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) or Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme (CPRS) is a long time in coming.

To quote from the video Discovering the future :the business of paradigms: “when the paradigm shifts everyone returns to go”. McNeil’s book does a good job of outlining ways forward as the paradigm shifts and Australian’s trading partners turn away from high carbon economies like ours.

Ben McNeil is a climate scientist and an economist. He’s also a senior research fellow at the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of NSW and is on the executive of Federation of Australasian Scientific and Technological Societies

McNeil’s book should be picked up by public, government, university, TAFE, school and special libraries.

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