The carbon tax starts on July 1 this year, so there’s some tidying up to do around the edges -- appointments, financing, regulations -- and then a big tick next to the climate policy box on the cabinet whiteboard. Minister Greg Combet has already taken on the additional portfolios of industry and innovation.

If only. A barely reported new study on Earth’s energy imbalance from NASA climate chief James Hansen and his research team contends that, far from answering the climate challenge, we have constructed "a Faustian bargain".