The Curious Invisibility of Progress

By Stephan Lewandowsky
Professor, School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol
Posted on 16 December 2011
Filed under Media

The Australian sustainable business market will grow to $2.9bn in 2014 from $1.6bn in 2010, according to a new report from independent analyst firm Verdantix. Their report, issued on 19 April 2011, goes on to quote author Susan Clarke that “... carbon regulations, rising energy prices and natural resource scarcity also create new market opportunities. Innovative firms ... already benefit from the market for energy efficiency and carbon management."

The report was built from "... publically disclosed revenue data from 139 firms with Australian revenues of more than US$1 billion in 2009/10." Between 2009 and 2014, Australian sustainable business expenditure are projected to increase at a compound annual growth rate of 13%.

Now, this sounds like good news.

Doesn't it?

At the very least, it sounds like interesting news and worthy of discussion and further examination.

So let's examine this further. Let us examine the vibrant discussion in the Australian media of a report that points to future market opportunities.

Err.... curiously, the discussion of this in Australia has been a little short of vibrant to date.

Google Web returns 151 hits since 19 April (until 15/12/2011) in response to "Verdantix." And Google News returns 31 Australian hits for the same date range. For some unknown reason, most of those hits are in Spanish, Chinese, or German. 

In fact, there are only 11 Australian news hits in English in response to "Verdantix."

That's the good news; the bad news is that this goes down to 1 hit (that number again: one) when you add "carbon tax" to the search query.

That's right, one news hit in Australia according to Google for a report that forecast an annual growth rate of 13% for sustainable business spend in response to introduction of the carbon tax.

One.

And the winner is here.

Where are the losers? Well, all of us are the losers if the media hide future opportunities from us.

So here is my challenge to you: In the comments, leave a link to an Australian media story that discusses the opportunities that arise from the price on carbon and the shift to clean energies. Like rare stamps, those links may become a trophy item for future analysts of the curious avoidance of  future opportunities that seems to have beset segments of the Australian media.

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1 Comment


Comments 1 to 1:

  1. Here's one a couple of months back from the Sydney Morning Herald: http://www.smh.com.au/money/investing/investors-predict-carbon-tax-benefits-20111020-1m8wk.html
    It states that the world's four major green investment groups think of the carbon price as a boon for pension funds etc. It also says that the funds consider the biggest risk as political, rather than pure fiscal due to Tony Abbott's promise to repeal the legislation.
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