University Of Tasmania
whole_BeckittAlexanderCR2001_thesis.pdf (7.94 MB)

Ecological modernisation at the periphery : an analysis of greenhouse development opportunities in a 'clean green' Australian state

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posted on 2023-05-27, 08:31 authored by Beckitt, Alexander C. R
Concern over greenhouse gases and the onset of global warming has become international in scale. Business opportunities arising from greenhouse gas abatement have been correspondingly recognised, and the potential advantages of less greenhouse intensive processes are being explored for any available market advantage. With this recognition comes a need to ensure that abatement is occurring, and that environmental benefit is a real outcome. Ecological modernisation theory posits that capitalist business behaviour can benefit by building into its activities environmental stewardship, thereby contributing to long term conservation of global ecosystems. The theory is explored, defining terms and discussing insights and limitations. The nature of greenhouse policy and definitions of what might comprise a greenhouse abatement industry are then established. This background provides a basis from which to investigate the business opportunities and constraints of genuine ecologically driven greenhouse reform. The thesis employs two case studies from the small Australian state of Tasmania. They depict how the theory of ecological modernisation is translated into practice. The Tasmanian government owns two businesses that significantly influence the state's greenhouse profile - one managing forests, the other renewable energy resources ‚ÄövÑvÆ and these have been chosen. Each case is tested against a history of environmental conflict and in the context of current marketing of a 'clean and green' image for the state. On this basis an assessment of what ecological modernisation can achieve is made. It is concluded that the environmental discourse characteristic of greenhouse policies cannot be translated into significant business opportunities due to difficulties involved with investment risks and with breaking from traditional development paradigms. Outcomes tend to constitute technological add-ons (evidence of weak ecological modernisation), or, in the worst case, a continuation of existing unsustainable practices within an environmental guise. This confines policy goals and production outcomes, and directly results in overstating environmental gains, a constriction of socio-political discourse, and undermined marketing potential in terms of environmental care. The promotion of greenhouse potential is therefore likely to be little more than rhetoric. The study concludes that, while ecological modernisation provides a theoretical framework through which trends can be ascertained, it fails in a prescriptive sense, for it does not explicitly cater for the uptake of environmental stewardship in the confines of strained economic circumstances similar to those of Tasmania and, perhaps, other types of economies.


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Copyright 2001 the Author - The University is continuing to endeavour to trace the copyright owner(s) and in the meantime this item has been reproduced here in good faith. We would be pleased to hear from the copyright owner(s). Thesis (M.Env.Mgt.) - University of Tasmania, 2001. Includes bibliographical references

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