Saturday, July 05, 2008

Garnaut's Draft - Wake Up!

Professor Ross Garnaut released the Garnaut Climate Change Review Draft Report yesterday.

While there appears to be nothing starkly different from what had been expected, it outlines the very significant and stark effects of climate change if we do nothing. For excample:

  • "major declines in agricultural production across much of the country, including a 50 per cent reduction in irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin. By 2100, irrigated agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin would decline by 92 per cent."
  • "(a fall of) 4.8 per cent of Australia’s projected GDP, around 5.4 per cent of projected household consumption, and 7.8 per cent from real wages by 2100" (Media Release)
Professor Garnaut paints a picture of significant effects on economic, cultural, and physical environments. He aslo has some salient advice, indiectly aimed at politicians and nay-sayers:

"We will delude ourselves should we choose to take small actions that create an appearance of action, but which do not solve the problem." Yet, this is so often how politicians react!


"it is neither rational nor helpful to reject conclusions because we do not like them. The conclusions will only be ‘wrong’ if the premises or logic leading to them are wrong. The Review aims to be clear in its premises and methodology, so that they can be contested transparently. If the subsequent public policy debate follows these lines, we will improve the prospects of Australian governments taking good decisions." (Draft Report)

Politicians should not choose political expediency as the basis of policy, and Industry groups, lobbyists and other groups and individuals should not engage in scare campaigns to suit their short-term financial or poitical interests. Liberal/National Opposition politicians were already crying "wolf", even before the release of the draft report; and NSW Labor Treasurer Costa is already demanding exemptions for coal-fired NSW power stations. He wants to sell them, and a carbon-trading scheme would mean the sale price would be less!

Already, then, some of our politicians are ignoring Professor Garnaut's wise advice, and are acting in a short-term, politically expedient, and irrational manner; for their own selfish purposes. We don't want such politicians any more, and they have no part to play in rational discussion leading to proper, appropriate public policy.