Last night I had the pleasure of speaking at the Brisbane launch of Ben McNeil’s The Clean Industrial Revolution
, held at the Red Sea Gallery in Fortitude Valley. It’s rare to find a book I agree with so thoroughly. Ben gets the economic balance just right: stabilising the global climate means a lot more than turning off light bulbs and having shorter showers, but it doesn’t mean we can’t have steadily increasing prosperity in poor countries as well as those that are already rich. But, ignoring the way the world is going, and trying to hang on to a coal-based economy will mean missing out on those opportunities, unless we can find a way to turn the rhetoric of clean coal (that is, carbon capture and sequestration into a reality). Like me, Ben is agnostic on the prospects for CCS, and concerned that it seems to used more as a basis for wishful thinking about avoiding change than about a serious commitment to develop and implement a workable solution if one can be found. Finally, the book gets it right on the role of markets: without markets and a proper price for carbon nothing will be achieved, but we need to do a lot more than set a price and leave the market to work. If you only buy one book on climate change, this should be it.