Funding cuts to green schemes announced by the Gillard Government today to help pay for Queensland's reconstruction was not expected to impact the market for green IT tools like carbon reporting software, according to analyst Graeme Philipson.
The Government revealed today that it would impose a flood levy and make budget cuts to help pay for the recovery effort in Queensland.
Among the casualties were a series of green rebate schemes offering cash for people who took old inefficient cars off the road (known colloquially as 'cash for clunkers') and the solar hot water and homes rebates.
Also under funding pressure were programs funding the development of green cars and green power-generation technology, and a body that allowed global companies to exchange expertise on carbon capture and storage (CCS).
"All of these rebates and schemes the Government announced have essentially been window-dressing," Connection Research director Graeme Philipson said.
"None have made any difference whatsoever. It's all been [paying] lip service to sustainability."
EcoView Technologies managing director Fadi Geha told iTnews that the cutbacks were to schemes that mostly targeted consumers rather than business and therefore would have "no impact" on the latter group.
"[But] the minute [Gillard] starts sending signals around significant investment in renewables and a carbon tax there will be a positive or negative impact on business," he said.
Philipson said other factors had led to the market for carbon reporting tools having "gone off the boil".
Those factors included the non-compliance of some companies with the National Greenhouse Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme and the Government's failure to fine them; delays to introducing a carbon pollution reduction scheme (CPRS) in Australia; and weak emission reduction targets set in Copenhagen last year.
"Two-to-three years ago there was a real outburst of carbon emissions management software tools and Australia was the world leader," he said.
"Everyone thought this would be a big new market, but the whole market just died because of the relative failure of the CPRS and non-enforcement of NGER in Australia. And globally it failed because of the relative failure of Copenhagen.
"All of a sudden all of these companies that spent money on developing these very efficient tools found they had no buyers.
"Unfortunately so many great Australian products went nowhere because of the failure of mandatory carbon reporting."
IT services company UXC was among the victims, stripping itself of its environmental services business earlier this month to focus on its core business.
But Philipson hoped that a recovery in the market was coming.
"Carbon reporting has gone off the boil but it hasn't gone away," he said.
"It's coming back," he said, but in a more subtle way.
Geha said that the carbon reporting software market hadn’t “moved dramatically” in recent years as companies continued to report either voluntarily or for compliance.
He said there had been a recent push by mid-market firms to voluntarily report emissions.
“We’re seeing more voluntary reporting in the midmarket than at the top end,” Geha said.
What do you think? Is there still a market for carbon reporting systems if governments are unwilling to provide funding?