When it comes to the greenhouse effect, the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics has always been an enthusiastic advocate for the primary industries and agriculture sectors.

Its efforts to first deny global warming, then to predict economic disaster if anything was done about it, suited the mining and agricultural industries perfectly. It also ensured that this notionally independent research body worked hand-in-glove with the Government trying to downplay the impact of our carbon addiction. If there was ever a “greenhouse mafia” of global warming denialists, ABARE was the dodgy accountant cooking the books behind the scenes.

Now ABARE’s at it again. Just before an election, when the Government is desperately playing catch-up on global warming, it produces another report, loyally advertised by The Australian, to bolster the Prime Minister’s claim that we can kick back, turn the airconditioning on and wait for gee-whiz new technologies to halt what increasingly looks like a runaway greenhouse effect.

What are these magical technologies? ABARE lists quite a few, including clean coal, biomass and carbon capture. All of them are described as “promising” or “emerging” technologies, which “have potential” or are “in development”. But you can tell it really means nuclear power. In particular, ABARE likes these you-beaut new “Generation IV” reactors (unfortunately, still – you guessed it – “in development”).

They’re the ones that presumably produce waste that is only deadly for fifty thousand years, rather than the usual hundreds of thousands. But with all these new technologies, ABARE says, carbon emissions growth will be half of what it would otherwise have been. Right. Well that’s greenhouse sorted. Phew. It had us all worried there for a moment.

Really, if ABARE wants to continue to represent the interests of the mining and agriculture industries, it would have a shred more credibility if it gave up downplaying global warming and started spruiking all the positives of our reliance on carbon. And there’s plenty of them. Everyone enjoys Spring coming a few weeks earlier than it used to. The geopolitical problem of failed states in the Pacific will be fixed as they are submerged under rising sea levels.

Many of our flagging tourism destinations will be able to rebadge themselves as tropical holidays. Land clearing removes large numbers of obstacles that our birds might fly into — and it makes the countryside look so NEAT. ABARE should be researching all these benefits, not issuing rubbish-in/rubbish-out modeling based on the adoption of perpetual motion machines and cold fusion.

Or it could explain the reality that our lifestyles require too much energy for the good of the planet. But that’s not the sort of message that would go down well with ABARE’s political or industry masters.