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Climate change: a golden opportunity for business

Suggesting it is unreasonable for the West to expect industrialising countries to curb their development for the sake of climate change, this article makes a case for the development of new, cleaner technologies. Instead of looking at how to limit energy-intensive and polluting activities, the question should rather be “how can we power this differently?” This challenge presents a business opportunity.

Clean technology partnerships need to be forged between Western nations and developing countries, particularly the large industrialising countries of India and China. The author envisages combinations of alternative energy sources will be needed to limit the rate of growth in carbon emissions. Instead of promoting inefficient public transport, solutions lie in flexible personal transport that does not produce so much waste – such as fuel-efficient hybrid vehicles or hydrogen-powered cars. Technologies applied to the motor-industry need also be used in space heating and cooling systems, as these are frequently energy intensive. Better technology can be encouraged by the tried and tested method of tax incentives.

Importantly, governments need to realise that human behaviour – such as our desire to drive cars – cannot be overcome by setting ever-stricter carbon targets. Governments that aspire to a cleaner planet will have to find means to work with human nature, not against it. Sensible government policy would entail encouraging people in the developing world to aspire to our living standards, while using tax breaks, their own purchasing and international negotiations to develop cleaner technologies and spread them more quickly. Only technology can meet the dual goals of development and cut carbon emissions simultaneously.