Reflections on the Australian climate change discussion
‘Climate change presents a new type of challenge. It is uncertain in its form and extent rather than drawn in clear lines. It is insidious rather than, as yet, directly confrontational. It is long term rather than immediate in both its impact and its remedy’. Professor Ross Garnaut, 3 February 2011.
Since 2008 there have been a number of significant developments in climate change science and understanding of climate change impacts. Climate change is back on the agenda in Australia, with more community interest than in any other public policy issue.
With the renewed interest in the science, economics and politics of climate change, the Federal Government re-commissioned Professor Ross Garnaut to review and update significant elements of his 2008 Garnaut Climate Change Review. The final report will to be presented to the Government by the end of May 2011.
This independent study of the impacts of climate change on the Australian economy will be released through a series of papers during the first half of 2011. They will address developments across a range of subjects including:
- climate change science and impacts
- emissions trends
- carbon pricing
- abatement opportunities in the land sector
- transformation of the electricity sector
In a recent presentation jointly hosted by the Monash Sustainability Institute and the Melbourne Sustainable Society, he again referred to climate change as a ‘diabolical policy problem…harder than any other issue and more important than have come before our polity in our memory.’
Professor Garnaut went on to reflect that ‘we’ve learned something along the way and that one thing we’ve learned is that we need a strong, independent centre of our polity if we’re going to get strong results in the national interest on a complicated policy question like this.’