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Jeffrey Sachs on the Stern Review « Previous | |Next »
November 1, 2006

Prof. Jeffrey D. Sachs comments on the Stern Review on the economics of climate change:

The Stern Review of the Economics of Climate Change is a vital step forward in securing an effective global policy on climate change. Led by one of the world's top economists, the Stern Review shows convincingly that the benefits of early global action to mitigate climate change will be far lower than the costs. The report establishes realistic guidelines for action (based on long-term stabilization ceilings for greenhouse gases), core elements of an effective global policy (carbon pricing, technology policy, and removing barriers to change), and a framework for international cooperation that must include all regions of the world, both developed and developing. The Stern Review will play an important role in helping the world to agree on a sensible post-Kyoto policy.”

In contrast, Allan Wood in The Australian tells us not to heed the Stern Review: its alarmist, utilizes scare tactics and it has suspect modelling. The implication is that Stern Review can therefore be dismissed as alarmist and incompetent. Presumably Wood's next op-ed will follow the Cato Institute's line and say that the study exaggerates the economic costs and extent of global warming.

The inference is that Wood can see no reason for any government intervention to reduce Australia's total greenhouse gas emissions. There is no need for market-based solutions to 'fix' the problem. It's business as usual. Australia just has to get used to warmer temperatures, changed rainfall patterns or higher sea levels. We just adapt. Technology is the key to this. etc etc.

Its the coal industry line as the solar techology is already here. But it is going offshore to be commercialised. Australia could have developed a vibrant solar energy industry. But it has continued to defund the research over the last decade.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 7:12 AM | | Comments (2)


Yep, adapt until we reach a real tipping point.

Then we can just be extinct.

I read somewhere in the media that John Howard has called the Review 'speculative'. What we are seeing is the managing of the 'politics of climate change' with the announcement of funding for low emission research in the last few days. There is a touch of desperation about showing how active they are.

Peter Christoff, writing in The Age, says

The Howard Government has rejected national emissions reduction targets, energy efficiency targets and meaningful renewable energy targets. Australia's carbon emissions continue to soar. Instead of establishing an authoritative wide-ranging public inquiry into climate change's Australian threats, costs and remedies, the Government has one on nuclear power. It has followed industry-funded, narrow and biased economic advice from ABARE. The cabinet has repeatedly rejected a national emissions market or any other means of putting a price on carbon.For a decade, the Federal Government has failed to act on the CSIRO's internationally respected advice about the seriousness and urgency of climate change for Australia's ecosystems and, by extension, rural production. Australia has no national policy to adapt to climate impacts. It has drought relief.

What we have are excuses for a decades' inaction, hence the defensiveness of the Howard Government and the fossil fuel lobby.

However, the Howard Government are shifting ground very fast, as the debate about climate change has shifted from science to economics. I wonder how long they can hold the nuclear line?