‘It will never catch on.’ From the advent of the railways, every major technology breakthrough has attracted its fair share of cynics and cleantech is no different. However the Paris climate change summit may have provided the impetus it needs to take off.
Although there are hundreds of thousands of cleantech patents registered around the world, investors have been waiting for the right time to develop them.
According to Dr Martina Linnenluecke and Professor Tom Smith of UQ Business School, the Paris summit in December 2015 was the signal they needed. The academics predict that cleantech will be the next technology revolution – the ninth breakthrough in the history of modern markets after railways, electricity, automobiles, radio, microelectronics, personal computers, biotechnology and the internet.
The development of the industry is likely to follow a similar pattern to previous revolutions – with a slow start giving way to more rapid uptake as the revolution gathers pace, encouraged by falling prices. We are even likely to see a cleantech bubble just as we saw with dotcoms in 2000.
With so many competing technologies, there are bound to be winners and losers. Dr Linnenluecke, a sustainability expert, and Professor Smith, a finance expert, are carrying out research into which ones are most likely to succeed. Ultimately, cleantech will not be good for the environment but, like other breakthroughs before it, will generate worldwide growth.
Dr Linnenluecke says: “The cleantech revolution will drive economies and create wealth for individuals and businesses alike.”