Sunday, 3 February 2008

Garnaut's vission not 2020

Professor and senior economist Ross Garnaut is currently writing a report for the Federal Government on climate change. He's recently dropped some hints that are bound to irritate a few scientific bodies as well as a large portion of the electorate that put Kevin Rudd on the throne.

Full report from ABC.

Professor Garnaut says he does not want strict gas reduction targets brought in in the early years of the scheme.

He says it is most important that gases are reduced over a period of more like 40 years, and favours letting the market decide how quickly to cut emissions.
But according to this report from The Age, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong has just committed Australia to setting 2020 targets despite the opinions of Prof. Garnaut. 'Experts' are predicting a target of 13 to 15% reduction from of 1990 emission levels by 2020. Considering Australia is already 8% beyond 1990 levels, this means an effective cut by about 20% of current emissions by 2020.

I don't believe in reinventing a wheel, so I'll stop here and refer to this post at The Oil Drum for further reading. In particular I liked the Crikey piece about the timing of target implementation, the 'myopic' approach of Australian business, and how the Australian public is backing targets and emission reductions 'now'.

The two lines of thought, logic, etc. are a sustained and vibrant economy and a globally sustainable environmental policy - nothing new to this discussion. At the moment, there appears to be no point of intersection for the two. It's a choice - either adopt emissions reduction policies and suffer with higher energy costs and the predicted economic slowdown; or make the economy the priority and endure international, environmental criticism [which could include emissions related trade penalties that could very well erode our economy in any case].

The pressure for deployable, safe, reliable no/low emissions energy [lots of energy] continues to grow while Rudd has his deputies do the talking. Any way you slice these issues, there are some very tough decisions to be made and a large part of the electorate is bound to be very disappointed if not completely infuriated.

If he’s lucky, Rudd may be able to effectively ignore the issue [and/or delegate it down the political food-chain] through the next election cycle. But with the continually increasing attention, scrutiny and pressure coming from such a diverse array of global interests and perspectives [nannies to Nobel Laureates]; I can’t personally imagine survival without significant, tangible action.

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