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The Climate Group welcomes update to the Garnaut Review

31 March 2011
The Climate Group welcomes update to the Garnaut Review

MELBOURNE: Professor Ross Garnaut presented the final chapter of The Garnaut Climate Change Review Update 2011 this week at The Melbourne Recital Centre.

The chapter, entitled Transforming the Electricity Sector, is the eighth and final update of the landmark 2008 Climate Change Review, which made a comprehensive and compelling case for Australia taking strong and long-term action on climate change to deliver sustainable prosperity for future Australians.

Professor Garnaut has analyzed developments across a range of topics including climate science, the costs and benefits of action, international progress towards a global response, emission trends, low carbon technology and innovation, land use, carbon pricing and other policies for reducing emissions.

Caroline Bayliss, Australia Director, The Climate Group, welcomed the update papers: “Professor Garnaut has again emphasized that it's in Australia’s national interests to take climate action now. His updates also underline that a well-designed carbon price will have a manageable impact on the economy. Countries around the world that already have a price on carbon are driving innovation in energy efficiency, improving productivity and reducing costs.”

The key conclusions of professor Garnaut’s updates include:

  • The scientific case for human-induced climate change has grown stronger since 2008.
  • Considerable progress has been made by developing countries; Chinese action on climate change is becoming an “increasingly central” part of the international effort to reach a global agreement, yet Australia, Canada and the US are lagging behind.
  • The effect of a carbon price on the economy will be modest. Putting a price on carbon is the most efficient and lowest-cost way of reducing emissions, and should form the centre of good climate policy.
  • Total global R&D spending on clean technology is back on the increase since 2008. China, for example, is increasing its innovation spending by 9-10% each year.
  • Australia, however, is currently falling behind on crucial low-emissions R & D. Realising opportunities in low carbon technology innovation will cut the cost of reducing emissions.

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has expressed her Government’s intention to put in place a fixed price on carbon by 1 July 2012, with a view to implementing an emissions trading scheme three to five years later.

Caroline Bayliss underscored the importance of that measure: “By outlining the progress on global efforts to combat climate change, particularly those in China and other developing nations, there's a cautionary note that Australia is becoming an outlier on this issue. We need to act quickly to reverse this, ensuring our businesses are equipped to compete in the low carbon markets of the future. Implementing a carbon price is a very good place to start.”

Professor Garnaut will present his final update report to the Australian Government by May 31 2011. His report will help inform the work of the Multi-Party Climate Change Committee, which is currently designing draft climate legislation in Australia.

Read the full Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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