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Australian Climate Madness

Friday, November 7, 2008

Climate sense from The Australian

In an article entitled When recression knocks, forget about saving the globe, Alan Wood exposes the gaping cracks in the Treasury's modelling for the ETS, and criticises the governments "press on at all costs approach":
Whatever the difficulties of forecasting the short-term behaviour of the Australian economy, they pale beside the task of forecasting the economic impacts of the Government's climate-change policies and the future path and consequences of global warming.

Which raises a very important question: Should the Rudd Government be pushing ahead with the early introduction of an emissions trading scheme to limit carbon emissions in the middle of global and possibly local recession?

When asked about this on Wednesday, Swan not only reaffirmed the Government's intention to introduce the scheme in 2010, as has Rudd. He added the extraordinary claim that "It's all about strengthening our economy." If the Treasurer is relying on his department's modelling of the economic costs of cutting carbon emissions for this claim, then he is like the pig that built its house of straw. For a start, the modelling tells us nothing about the short-term costs of adjustment.

And its suggestion that the longer-term economic costs will be as low as 0.1 per cent of gross domestic product a year defies common sense and depends on impossibly optimistic assumptions about the progress of global agreement on carbon reductions and improbably optimistic ones on the emergence and costs of newtechnologies.

The most sensible approach is to defer introduction of any scheme until the recession has passed and we know the outcome of international negotiations on a post-Kyoto scheme. Action is pointless without commitments to carbon-reduction targets by China, India and the US.

Read it here.


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