The polls have firmly established that Tony Abbott’s relentlessly negative campaigning style has proven to be devastatingly effective. The man is an expert at cut-through.

And his “keep it simple” formula has been boiled down to perfection in the way the Coalition has framed the carbon tax debate: the opposition has gone hyper local with its message — how will it hit your household budget?

Now it seems Abbott has managed to inspire the Climate Commission, which, overnight released its first official report, entitled The Critical Decade.

It too is imploring people to think in terms of budgets. Less Weet-Bix, more a global carbon budget.

Until now, Australia’s political discussion has been framed around the ways and means of reaching the bipartisan target of a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020. But as Giles Parkinson in Climate Spectator points out today, the Commission argues that “framing a budget offers a much simpler, easier-to-understand, more transparent and powerful framework to estimate what level of emissions reduction is required to meet the 2 degree guardrail”:

“Professor Steven Sherwood, from the Climate Change Research Centre at the University of New South Wales, says looking at the task as a total budget makes it clear what we have to aim for over the long term. ‘Rate and timetable thinking has dominated political discussions so far, but budget thinking is more appropriate to the physics of the problem and probably easier for people to intuitively grasp.'”

Easier to grasp, but no more palatable argues David Spratt in Crikey today: “We are in deep carbon deficit heading towards bankruptcy, and at the present rate of emissions, Australia would run out of its carbon budget to 2050 within five years.”

The question is: does the public still have the stomach for this stuff?