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Poznan: its slow « Previous | |Next »
December 11, 2008

In the Sydney Morning Herald Jonathon Porritt says that the negotiations at the Poznan conference is based on the scientific consensus that emerged at the end of last year from the fourth assessment report of the Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change. That work, which was done by more than 2500 scientists between 2000 and 2005 ( the cut-off year for the IPCC's rigorous peer-review process), is out of date.

MoirPozan.jpg Moir

The vast majority of those studies tell us incontrovertibly that the impact of climate change is more severe and materialising much more rapidly than anything reflected in the fourth assessment report. It is much worse and is getting worse even faster. These reports indicate that the earlier work underestimated the damage associated with temperature increases, and underestimated the probability of temperature increases.

Is Australia seen as acting as a mouthpiece for its coal industry in these international reforms with the Rudd Government seen as behaving like the Howard government? Paul Howes, the national secretary of the Australian Workers Union, indicates the way the debate in Australia concentrates on the cost of reform and going slow. In an op-ed in The Australian:

While carbon trading may well assist in establishing new industries and opportunities, it is not necessary to lay waste to our existing world-class industries to achieve this. Policies that deny costs or view traditional industries as the problem are bound to create costs for us all.

Howes argument centres on the costs---killing jobs---not on the benefits. Heather Ridout, the chief executive of the Australian Industry Group, says that the global financial crisis presents a strong case for the Government to go real slow:
One option is to adopt a start that is akin to a pilot scheme or a dry run. This could involve, for example, minimum cost burdens and placing emphasis on education about how to comply with reporting obligations rather than imposing heavy penalties on errors and misunderstandings.

Ridout also wants greater subsidies for both the emissions-intensive trade-exposed and less emissions-intensive businesses.The emphasis in Australia is on burying the emissions from burning fossil fuels not on renewable energy, since this would allow the continued heavy use of coal for power.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 5:41 AM | | Comments (3)


The debate in Australia is about corporate welfare and protection not entrepreneurship and innovation. Its depressing.

Australia is now coming under pressure for not doing enough on the international stage.

A Chinese Government spokesman said he was deeply disappointed the developed world had not shown greater commitment to setting a framework for a post-Kyoto climate deal, due to be signed late next year.

"It appears that preparations are already under way for the great escape from Copenhagen — we must prove to ourselves and to the world that we remain committed to Copenhagen

That challenges the spin in Australia that Australia leads whilst China drags its heels.

It would seem that Merkel's administration in Germany is prepared to support only those greenhouse measures which don't hurt big business in Germany.

The rules for the emissions trading scheme were relaxed under German pressure to exempt most companies in the processing industries, such as steel and cement, from paying for the permits, and power stations in central Europe, mostly coal-fired, were awarded large discounts on the price of carbon.