1st Edition

Innovation Pathways to Sustainability Conversations Towards Complex Systems of Governance

Edited By Michael Lester, Marie dela Rama Copyright 2025
    352 Pages
    by Routledge

    The book offers insights into reconciling innovation with sustainability and identifying key stakeholders responsible for the reconciliation. Through conversations with experts in various fields, the intersection of innovation, sustainability, governance and complex systems in a rapidly changing climate-driven world is discussed.

    Countries around the world face the urgent existential challenge to tackle climate change and CO2 emissions. In its discussions of  case studies of key economic sectors in Australia this book focuses on  the emerging experience with harnessing innovation to sustainability. The interdisciplinary approach to the complexity of climate change and policy making provides readers an opportunity for thoughtful discussions and lessons to be learnt from multiple angles.

    This is a vital resource for scholars in climate studies, innovation and sustainability, that also confronts important challenges facing policymakers, government and society.


    List of Acronyms

    The Interviewees


    Chapter 1: Introduction - Exploring the Opportunities and Challenges Of Innovation, Technology, Climate Change and Sustainability


    Section I         Understanding Innovation and Sustainability


    Chapter 2: Mark Dodgson – The things that matter: understanding and communicating the process and impact of innovation 


    Chapter 3: Kevin Fox - The delayed growth impact of disruptive digital technologies:  measuring and accounting for the ‘productivity paradox’ 


    Chapter 4: Nicholas Gruen - Entrepreneurs and start-ups in the digital age: profiles, values and paradigms


    Chapter 5: Robert Atkinson- National innovation and competitiveness in the United States: at a strategic ‘tipping point’ -


    Chapter 6: Roy Green - Innovation policies in Australia: the divisive politics and administration of systemic transformation


    Chapter 7: Ross Garnaut - Efficient, effective and integrated economy-wide climate change policy: economics and politicisation  


    Chapter 8: Warwick McKibbin - Climate change energy transition: modelling, scenarios and the political economy of ‘the tragedy of the commons’


    Chapter 9: Sami Kara - The innovative ‘circular economy’ as a sustainable business model: design and transformation challenges


    Section II       Climate Change and Energy Resources


    Chapter 10: Giles Parkinson - Renewable energy development : the costs of policy uncertainty and lack of political stability


    Chapter 11: Chris Dunstan - The National Energy Guarantee (NEG): frustrated reductions in electricity emissions and dirty party politics


    Chapter 12: Peter Khoury - Electric Vehicles (EV): Infrastructure and policy barriers lead to laggardly diffusion and adoption 


    Chapter 13: Sean Foley - Bitcoin, cryptocurrency and global finance industry disruption:  dirty little energy secret


    Chapter 14: Jim Green - Small Modular Nuclear Reactors (SMRs) untried and untested: why all the political interest now?


    Chapter 15: Tony Wood - Hydrogen-Based Economy: shipping sunshine energy to the world


    Section III      Agriculture, Land and Water Resources


    Chapter 16: Richard Heath - Agricultural productivity  improvement: the role of digital technologies 


    Chapter 17: Lesley Hughes - The second domestication of dairy and beef:  Food 2.0 proteins without the animals


    Chapter 18: Richard Beasley - Murray Darling Basin (MDB) environmental catastrophe: federalism politics and best available science


    Chapter 19: Bruce Pascoe - Indigenous agriculture and sustainability knowledge: the great Australian silence


    Chapter 20: Charles Massy - Regenerative agriculture: confronting industrial agriculture with farmer-led sustainability innovation


    Section IV      Governance Roles and Responsibilities


    Chapter 21: Michael Piore - ‘Silicon Valley Consensus’: self-fulfilling technological determinism


    Chapter 22: Bob Carr - The business of climate change: reimagining ‘material interests’ and the corporation


    Chapter 23: Pru Bennett - Environment, Social and Governance (ESG): harnessing capital to sustainability or just ‘woke’ and ‘greenwashing’?


    Chapter 24: Ross Garnaut - Decarbonising & transforming the Australian economy: a game changing renewable energy opportunity


    Chapter 25: Allan Fels - Public interest journalism: vanishing pillar for a sustainable democracy?


    Chapter 26: Aaron Mertz and Abhilash Mishra - Public confidence in science: building trust on understanding scientific method and uncertainties


    Chapter 27: Ray Ison – Systems-based governance: for a complex sustainable future


    Chapter 28: Barry Jones - Political reform and public engagement:  necessary sustainable path for confronting climate change


    Chapter 29: Conclusion - Towards Complex Systems of Governance


    Selected Readings (Available at www.routledge/9781032248295)




    Michael Lester is an independent economist, writer and radio presenter. A former public sector executive in Australia he has worked and lived internationally. His experience spans science, technology, innovation, environment, resources, industry, trade and investment domains. He has undergraduate and postgraduate degrees in engineering, public administration, and economics.

    Marie dela Rama PhD (UTS) is an independent researcher. She participated as an accredited civil society observer to these multilateral meetings: G20 ACWG, OECD GACIF, UNCAC IRG, UN COSP9, UNGASS, UNODC ISM COSP UNGASS and UN SPT OPCAT. Her publications include The Changing Face of Corruption in the Asia Pacific (Elsevier) and Corporate Governance and Corruption (Journal of Business Ethics)