This doesn’t have to mean bad news for business. The Garnaut report has strongly recommended fast action on climate change. This stands in contrast to usual approaches that are strong on the need for action but cautious on when that action should take place; arguing that there is value in waiting for more information and to “get the policy parameters right. It seems that, for all sorts of reasons that I won’t go into here, time has run out. John Quiggin and I wrote a paper last year that addressed policy implementation. In it, we argued that there was no reason not to move quickly in some sectors. We singled out automotive because, even if you don’t worry about climate change, we need to get the prices right there anyway. — Joshua Gans, CoreEcon

Um, this is bigger than Garnaut suggests. …notwithstanding the cheer squad who were able to comment on detail about the report as soon as it was released, Garnaut barely scratches the surface in recognising the enormity of the task. Throwaway lines like stabilisation at a uniform per capita level mask economic turmoil. Australia’s emissions per capita are presently 16 tonnes of CO2 equivalent. Largely because much of the OECD has (unlike Australia) outsourced its heavy energy intensive industries, the OECD average is 11.5 tonnes. The world average is 4.5 tonnes. Given population growth, that would have to fall to under 4 tonnes by 2030 to get to stabilisation. In other words, to meet the level that Garnaut sees as necessary, Australia would be emitting only one quarter of its present level of CO2. — Jennifer Marohasy, The Politics and Environment Blog

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Rudd pulls the rug out from Garnaut. Prime Minister Rudd heralded Garnaut as the reason he didn’t go to the election with a climate change policy. He gave him a broad brief, a Royal Commission would have loved the same, and now pretends he hadn’t regarded Ross Garnaut as a serious climate expert. Spin is okay I suppose (no, it’s not) but when the planet’s existence as we know it is at risk we can certainly blame Rudd and preceding governments as those who had no respect for the environment, and so hit them with writs under the UN legislation that enables such action. — Exposing Humour

It’s about the science people. As I’ve said before and I’ll probably get plenty of excuses to say again, the targets need to be based on science and scientifically informed criteria of sustainability and unacceptable levels of risk. The role of the economists is to advise on the most cost-effective and efficient mix of policy instruments to get us to those targets. — Paul Norton, comment, Larvatus Prodeo

Garnaut only listened to one side. This was honey to alarmists, but Garnaut also admits his review of the global warming science “takes the work of the IPCC as its starting point”. That’s a problem. This Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change is the United Nations body that persuaded governments we’re doomed unless we get less gassy. But Garnaut concedes the IPCC has in fact been accused — not least by an all-party British House of Lords inquiry into climate change — of using dodgy science, excluding dissenters and sexying up findings. Or in Garnaut’s more polite words, of lacking “objectivity” and giving in to “political considerations”. — Andrew Bolt blog

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Peter Fray
Peter Fray
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