Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Green Services Export Opportunities for Australia

Greetings from the Australian National University in Canberra, where Alex Teytelboym from the University of Oxford is speaking on "Climate and Innovation". He started by pointing out that the commitments to emissions reductions made at the COP 21 Paris Agreement were not sufficient to limit global warming to 2 degrees. He suggested that most coal will have to be left in the ground and changes to development needed by next year to avert global disaster.

Dr. Teytelboym has carried out a detailed analysis of the development of green products, to see how new industries emerge (a "Green Complexity Ranking"). He found, not surprisingly, that Germany makes complex green products, whereas South Africa makes simpler ones. Surprisingly Australia ranks very poorly in production of both simple and complex green products, near the bottom of the list at 116 out of 117, between Trinidad and Panama. However, Dr. Teytelboym points out that Australia ranks well in the export of services, such as higher education.

Dr. Teytelboym has published papers on climate change. Interestingly, he has also published papers on Social Networks, but none on climate change and social networks. I suggest that just as major changes in emissions from vehicles with conventional internal combustion engines has been made possible by the addition of computer controls, ICT can be used more generally to reduce emissions. An example is a social networking applicaiton which introduces people so they feel confortable to share local co-working office or a ride-share vehicle. I discuss this in my course "ICT Sustainability: Assessment and Strategies for a Low Carbon Future".

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