Marketing is all about defining the problem we want to solve, poor definition leads to poor analysis and solution implementation. In the climate “debate” to give it more credit that it deserves, we have absolutely failed to include the capital value of the natural assets we currently have, considering only of the value of the current products that are made.
The whole debate about the need for change in the economy in response to climate change is about the costs that will be imposed as a result of those measures.
The classic narrow minded management mistake of believing the future will be an extrapolation of the past has driven the debate.
The “carbon tax” label has ensured that there is little else considered in the pubs, and around the BBQ’s that determine the public mood, and is a really poor piece of marketing by all concerned, except perhaps the opposition who are just there “to oppose” with no responsibility to be responsible.
In the past I have expressed the view that putting a price on carbon is the most easily managed form of insurance against adverse impacts of climate change should it be a reality. That still seems to be the case to me, even though the bumbling in Canberra ensures compromises that emasculate the cost/benefit, and the public mind is now firmly in opposition to imposition of a carbon price.
However, there is another dimension.
Just ask yourself what is the current value of discoveries that will emerge from natural compounds in the future , all of which come from the forests, swamps, sea, and estuaries around us. What is the value of retaining the natural capital that produces oxygen and water?
Because we have not really considered these things, and because we just assume they will continue to be essentially free as they have been to date, it would be a mistake to believe the past will just continue when we are busily changing everything else.
As a part of the debate, we should spend time considering the value of the natural capital we have, assigning monetary value to the olive tree plantations, as well as the olives they produce, simply because they have values beyond the olives, they produce wood, oxygen, habitat, and even a place to have a picnic. This can get pretty complicated, but the data sets are emerging that enable accurate mapping and assignment of values.
ARies or “Artificial intelligence for Ecosystem Services” is an organisation setting out to develop the methodology of assigning values to natural capital, we would do well to try and redefine the debate from the equivalent of a schoolyard brawl to one that uses our innate capacity to be creative and extraordinarily adaptable when we dismiss the power of current vested interest.