Media Coverage

Announced in abc carbon express issue 124 – 2 September 2010

Sustain Ability Showcase Asia is being set up in Singapore to promote clean technology and clean energy in the booming Asia marketplace. Ken Hickson is on another mission this week to advance this plan. Meanwhile, the Climate Alliance has set up in Australia to make it easier for business leaders to become better informed about the opportunities and risks of climate change. Its first conference is in Melbourne 7 October. And the Australia Pacific Earth Charter +10 Festival is being held in Brisbane on 16 to 19 September 2010.

Report from Ken Hickson:

Sustain Ability Showcase Asia is being set up in Singapore by ABC Carbon and other Australian partners to help get clean technology and clean energy businesses into the booming Asia marketplace.

Ken Hickson is on another mission to Singapore this week to advance this plan. He is a moderator at the Indian Institute of Management Alumni Association seminar on Sustainable Development on Friday evening. Guest of honour for the event is Singapore Minister of Foreign Affairs George Yeo.

The aim of Sustain Ability Showcase Asia (SASA) is the direct promotion of business, products and services to relevant Singapore based Government agencies, trade and industry companies and businesses, industry groups and associations.

This will be done by setting up a permanent display centre in Singapore for the purpose in a suitable business location, desirably in association with an appropriate Government agency and a commercial concern.

“We already have many Queensland businesses, and some from other Australian States, who want to be involved in our Singapore programme. We are also getting a green welcome mat from Singapore Government agencies,” Ken Hickson said.

SASA will also identify and advise clients and partners of relevant Trade Shows and Conferences in Singapore and regionally, which can be best utilised to promote clean tech products and services.

Ken has a long history of being involved in business in Asia. He set up and ran a international communication consultancy in Singapore, where he was based for 17 years from 1983 to 2000.

He assures abc carbon express readers that the weekly e-newsletter will continue, even though he will be spending more of his time in Singapore. “It will have a growing Asia Pacific focus, but will still make sure its Australian origins and supporters are well represented,” Ken said.

A website is under development – – but in the meantime information will be provided through Ken Hickson’s ABC Carbon.


for immediate release

Red Hill Digital breaks through the e-barrier

One of the ʻfirst moversʼ to offer ebook distribution to Australian authors and publishers, Red Hill Digital has placed Ken Hickson¹s book The ABC of Carbon on social publishing site

Red Hill Digital (RHD), a sister business to Red Hill Publishing, is launching its ebook distribution services this month. The ABC of Carbon is the first title they have made available to the North American market.

At a massive 580 pages, Ken Hickson¹s exhaustively researched volume is possibly the worldʼs largest carbon and climate change reference. Its extent and encyclopaedic style makes it ideally suited to the digital format.

Scribd, which claims up to 55 million unique users a month, recently launched its Scribd Store. Publishers and authors can use it to publish their works and set their own price, while keeping 80 per cent of the revenue. Thatʼs against only 35 per cent from Amazon – with Amazon setting the selling price.

Hickson and RHD were attracted to the Scribd Store by the generous profit split, the option of actively

managing how documents are available, and its use of Adobe Digital Editions technology. Books in the Scribd Store are PDF and ePub compatible, so they can be read on the soon-to-be-launched Scribd iPhone application and other mobile devices.

Red Hill Digital enables publishers and authors to export ebooks into the world’s leading online stores,

including Amazon Kindle, the Sony eBook Store, Scribd and Mobipocket.

For more information, see

or contact Robert Collings:

+61 (0)7 3137 1799

+61 (0)407 501 787




Graham Readfearn’s review (in The Courier Mail and on his Green Blog) of a new book by Brisbane-based writer Ken Hickson

The ABC of Carbon 
Ken Hickson 
AUTHOR Ken Hickson describes carbon as “the basis of life on earth’’ – it’s also the basis of his new encyclopaedic reference book. 
The timing of The ABC of Carbon couldn’t be better as the media noise over climate change and carbon pollution is now a virtual constant. 
This reference book of more than 500 pages has explanations for more than 900 words, phrases, organisations, businesses, people and places from Chapter A to Chapter Z. 
“It’s been two years in the process,’’ says Hickson, who has almost 50 years in the communications industry both as a journalist and later as a consultant. 
“There’s such a lot of information out there – and a need for better information – which is why I decided to write this book.’’ 
There’s little doubt that grave concerns over climate change have resulted in the rapid rise of a new lexicon and Hickson’s book covers the lot, with many businesses at both ends of the issue profiled. 
There’s Bali, BHP Billiton and Blanchett (Cate). Geothermal, General Motors, glaciers and Gore (Al). Icebergs, Indi, Intel and island nations. Rio Tinto, rocks and Roddick (Anita). 
“So what’s gone wrong today that warrants the suggestion that carbon is on a collision course with the climate?’’ asks Hickson in the book’s introduction, which acts as a handy catch-up for those who may not be familiar with the issue. For those who are familiar, it’s a handy reminder of how it gained prominence. 
So does Hickson have a favourite entry? 
“Well it’s probably Chapter C . . . but then it’s a bit like being asked which of your children is your favourite.’’ 
The ABC of Carbon is a reference book that doesn’t just guide you through the basis of life, but the basis of arguably the greatest challenge civilisation has ever faced. 
ABC Books, $49.96


Be the Change Magazine – Carbon Planet

Energy efficiency gives us a triple whammy!
By Ken Hickson
There are a lot of things we can all do – must do – to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases. One that seems so painlessly obvious is reducing the amount of energy we use at home, at school and university, in the office, on the factory floor and on the road.

Through my book “The ABC of Carbon” and my weekly e-newsletter abc carbon express – as well as with practically everyone I talk to – I emphasise the importance of energy saving. It can and does make a difference.

I know from my personal experience at home and work that I have been able to cut back my energy use – electricity in the home and petrol on the road – by at least 50% over the past two years.

Does that translate to a reduction in emissions? I believe it does. Particularly as by far the majority of the electricity I use in Queensland comes from coal fired power stations. And my car used a lot of petrol/oil from fossil fuels. I manage now without a car – using a car share vehicle from GoGet when I need to – and I heavily rely on public transport, which is obviously much better user of energy than a private car. We are also ultra careful to switch off lights and appliances when not needed. It works.

A friend at a university in Melbourne did some very interesting research. He looked into saving power by having an automatic shut off of all PC’s on the network at a specific after hour’s time. This involved 30,000 PC’s under power management with an average consumption of 1,490 kilowatt hours per annum each. The savings with auto shutdown amounted to 14,421,585 kWh. At 12 cents per kWh, 9 hours per workday, 22 workdays per month, provide a total financial saving of $1,745,012 per annum. That’s $1.7 million dollars saved!

Let’s look at it this way: 200 computers under power management is equivalent to 96 tonnes of CO2 pollution saved or 16 cars off the roads or 26 acres of trees planted every year.

Wouldn’t you want your office or school or University to do that? Save energy, reduce emissions and save money. Triple whammy!

Last year I was one of many hundreds of people and organisations to make a submission to the Government on the Green Paper for the Carbon Pollution Reduction Scheme. I set out six things the Government needed to do in addition to the CPRS, because I feared at the time (September last year), that it would not achieve half the emission reductions required. Now it looks like (in April 2009) that the scheme is unlikely to become law.

So shouldn’t the Government be looking at all the other ways, like renewable energy and energy efficiency, which will definitely help us meet realistic targets for emission reductions? Here’s what I specifically said about energy efficiency. And I stand by it today:
Promote Energy efficiency at all levels – home, office, factory and on the road – which could effortlessly reduce our energy use, our dependence of fossil fuels and cut our emissions dramatically, if we set our minds to it. It needs a Federal and State Government campaign to educate and persuade. It could be of the same order as Queensland’s successful water saving plan. We don’t think it would be difficult, for example, for many homes and offices to cut their electricity use by 50%. Aligned to this is the need to encourage and incentivise a voluntary market for companies large and small to head towards carbon neutrality – reduce energy and reduce emissions – and if necessary offset emissions. A voluntary carbon trading market should be allowed to operate in tandem with the CPRS.

If I can do it, everyone can. If one university can plan to save energy, cut emissions and save money in the process, all Universities can. The same applies to offices and homes.
If 50% energy saving is too much to tackle, what about a more realistic 25%? That would still give us a massive reduction in emissions of greenhouse gas. More than the CPRS could possible do in it’s watered down, concession-laden final form.
Let’s go for energy efficiency in a big way.

Style Magazine, Sunshine Coast, 6 April 2008

Green machine
By Janine Hill

Apollo diamonds, bagasse, cork. You might think you’ve heard everything that there is to be said about climate change, but have you heard how these words fit into the scheme of things?

Probably not, which is the reason that Ken Hickson has wrapped them and another 149,997 words into a new book, The ABC of Carbon.

The book, which he expects to be released this month, is a reference guide to carbon and carbon dioxide, and the consequences of both for the climate and the environment overall.

It summarises a good 200-plus climate change topics in alphabetical order, and is a fusion of his interest in the environment and his skills as a man of words.

Ken, who has a background in journalism and public relations and is an adjunct professor at the University of the Sunshine Coast, was inspired to write the book after attending a climate change conference organised by the Sunshine Coast Environment Council and Maroochy Shire Council last year.

“I really convinced myself that I had to get involved and do something,” says Ken, an earnest fellow who looks more retired businessman than greenie.

“I realised while I was at the conference that there was a business opportunity as well as an opportunity to get more involved and do something to create greater awareness.”

At that stage, Ken was the Sunshine Coast Literary Association’s chairman of events, which included WARM (the Writers Artists and Readers Month), so it was natural for him to look at writing a book.

He was encouraged in his endeavour by Justin Holbrook, an environmental scientist and the president of The Sustainable Business Alliance and, after refining the idea, he hit the keyboard.

Environmental matters are not new to Ken. He was a communications advisor and honorary representative for the World Wide Fund for Nature in Singapore and is governor of WWF Australia.

Prior to starting the book, he had launched a consultancy, ABC Carbon, providing advice to businesses on how climate change could affect them, and had also written a book, Flight 901 to Erebus, an account of a major airline disaster.

The ABC of Carbon was a learning experience for Ken, who initially planned to write 50,000 words but ended up writing 150,000.

Climate change is a growth area as far as research goes, and every topic led to another topic. The more research Ken did, the more he came to realise the seriousness of scientists’ warnings and the world’s predicament.

“The more I got into it, the more I realised that not only was there a lot happening … there was enough evidence to show that it was going to be a major problem for the world. There was evidence that it was starting to happen.”

He talks as easily about glaciers melting in the Himalayas and deforestation in Indonesia and South America as the rest of us do about the weekend football scores or home loan interest rates.

Looking at the effects of carbon and carbon dioxide emissions prompted Ken to look at techniques to minimise the impact of our carbon output on the environment through carbon capture and carbon sequestration.

He also expanded his outlook to consider alternative energy sources such as wind, waves, solar, gas and bio-fuels.

“There’s a lot of work going on, not only in Queensland but also around the world, cleaning up our act and making better use of what we are using,” he says.

“What the book is, is a collection of things that are being done by countries, organisations and people, to look at alternative forms of energy, making better use of energy now, how we can cut down our energy use. If we can make better use of our fossil fuels, that’s important.”

He says there has been a shift in thinking, with climate change now accepted by many people as a fact rather than a theory. He believes that Al Gore made the difference when it comes to greater awareness and understanding of climate change.

“The scientific community has admitted that they haven’t done the best job of communicating climate change… They spent so much time studying the facts that they forgot to tell people,” he says.

“It really wasn’t until Al Gore … that it was brought to the attention of the world’s population.”

Ken might not be the next Al Gore, but he’s doing his bit to make sure that as many people as possible are aware that every time they start the car or turn on the air-conditioning, it stands to affect the climate and the future of the world.

Oh, and in case you’re wondering: Apollo Diamond manufactures diamonds synthetically from carbon, instead of mining them; bagasse is a sugarcane waste product now being sold by mills for livestock feed or ethanol fuel; and cork, produced from the bark of the cork oak tree, is a renewable resource that provides a sustainable income and ecosystem in countries such as Portugal.

The ABC of Carbon is available online at the pre-publishing discount price of $25. Go to It will also be available in future from selected bookshops.

Media Release

31 July 2009

Media release

Book for the Carbon Age:
Climate Change Solutions

Are we living in the Carbon Age? Brisbane author Ken Hickson thinks so and sets out in his 580 page book “The ABC of Carbon” why he thinks we should acknowledge the overwhelming role that carbon plays in the world today.
But it is not a doomsday scenario that Hickson portrays in his climate change book being launched at Baci Lounge, Paddington this Sunday afternoon. He chronicles a comprehensive collection of practical solutions recommended or being carried out by countries, companies and individuals around the world, aimed at significantly reducing damaging greenhouse gas emissions.
Subtitled “issues and opportunities in the global climate change environment”, the book presents a wealth of easy-to-understand scientific insights into what’s happening with our climate, as well as dozens of case studies, where businesses are introducing renewable energy and energy efficiency programs.
Queensland’s Minister for Sustainability and Climate Change, Kate Jones has this to say about the book:
“This wide-ranging, encyclopaedic approach is not only a great read, but is a fantastic reference tool for everyone to better understand climate change. I welcome Ken Hickson’s insights and enthusiasm for conservation and the environment.
“I also agree with Ken’s view that when it comes to climate change research, mitigation and adaptation programs, Queensland is the ‘centre of the universe’. I am positive his ecological fervour will inspire and educate generations of ‘green’ thinkers.”
Also finding favour with the book is archaeologist Richard Cassels, former general manager of the Queensland Museum and now director of Climate Leadership. He has no hesitation in recommending this book as a reader-friendly “Thesaurus of carbon and climate”.
Cassels says: “If you are a historian or sociologist in 30 years time, you will find this book an amazing documentation of what it was like to be at the beginning of the biggest transformation that humanity ever made.”
Author Ken Hickson has put two years into the research, writing and publishing of “The ABC of Carbon.” He is quick to point out that he is not a scientist or a politician, but a communicator – a journalist and communications specialist – who feels strongly about the subject and wants to make it accessible to all.
“There is so much information out there on the vast subject of climate change, as well as a lot of opinions being expressed, so I’ve adopted a reporting role: telling it as it is.
Scientific, technological & industrial
“Many examples are provided in the book where there is clear evidence of the impact of climate change, as well as a host of solutions from all parts of the world – scientific, technological and industrial,” says Hickson.
The book has substance: 188,000 words, with around 900 items of interest, set out in 26 chapters – one for each letter of the alphabet.
There’s a thought-provoking introduction where Hickson draws attention to the lack of effective communication to date on the subject and incorporates quotes from well-known climate experts. The book ends with a section called “Actions and Reactions”, providing the latest news and information on this fast-changing subject.
Acting as author and publisher is not an entirely new role for Hickson. He has worked as a journalist and editor in newspapers, radio, television and magazines over the years and has also been a lecturer in communication studies at the University of the Sunshine Coast.
He currently edits and produces a weekly climate change e-newsletter abc carbon express and runs his own consulting business, ABC Carbon. He is regularly called on to speak on climate change solutions at conferences and events around Australia.
As you should expect with a book on this subject, it has been entirely produced in an environmentally-friendly manner. The book cover and text is printed on ENVI 50/50 Carbon Neutral Australian Paper, which is Government approved and wears the Greenhouse Friendly logo.
The author and publisher also practices what he preaches by managing his own carbon footprint. He uses public transport, walks a lot, pays for Green Power and offsets his travel. A true believer in energy efficiency at home and in the office, Hickson says he has definitely cut back on his own fuel and electricity use by at least 50% over the last two years.
The first book launch for “The ABC of Carbon” is being held at Baci Lounge, Given Terrace, Paddington, on Sunday 2 August at 2pm. It will also be launched in Sydney on 5 August and Melbourne on 7 August.
Bookstores in Queensland stocking “The ABC of Carbon”:
American Bookstore – Elizabeth Street, Brisbane
Angus & Robertson – Toowong Village
Avid Reader – West End
Baci Lounge – Paddington
Berkelouws – Eumundi
Coaldrakes – Park Road Milton; The Barracks, Petrie Terrace & Emporium, Fortitude Valley
Dymocks – Indooroopilly and Chermside
Folio Books – Albert Street, Brisbane

Also available online at, and

Available in Sydney at Berklouw Books, Paddington; Gleebooks, Glebe, and Coop Bookshop at the University of Sydney

Available In Melbourne at all Readings bookstores.