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Is Garnaut a rubber stamp? (Read 5826 times)
freediver
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Is Garnaut a rubber stamp?
Nov 16th, 2007 at 1:13pm
 
updated article: http://www.ozpolitic.com/green-tax-shift/garnaut-rubber-stamp.html

The Garnaut report is the ALP's version of the Stern report on the economics of climate change. It was initiated by the state government's in response to the federal government's unwillingness to make any real changes on climate change. Kevin Rudd has said that a federal Labor government would adopt the recommendations of the report. It is due out next year.

Unfortunately the report appears to be ignoring one of the key choices that needs to be made: the choice between carbon trading and carban tax schemes. This is most likely because the majority of economists support carbon taxes, whereas the Labor party (and the coalition) prefer trading schemes. I brought the issue up in person with Peter Garrett last week and he said that Labor was locked into a carbon trading policy, even though the report was not even out yet.

I have emailed the Garnaut people and asked the to clarify whether they will be considering this important decision, but have recieved no response.

The report's home page:

http://www.garnautreview.org.au

While public policy debate has to date focused strongly on discrete measures such as emissions trading, there is a need for a broader framework to guide government intervention, and a deeper understanding of how climate change and related policy options will impact the economy.

The terms of reference, which clearly indicate that taxes should be considered, though they don't mention it specifically (pdf, 346 kb):

http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/WebObj/GarnautClimateChangeRevi...

A media release on economic policy options, indicating that the Garnaut report is only considering trading schemes as an option:

http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/WebObj/MediaReleasefor31October...

“Today’s forum, Financial Services for Managing Risk: Climate Change and Carbon Trading, features a number of national and international speakers from the finance sector who will lead discussions on:

• Management of climate change risk by the insurance industry
• Building effective carbon trading markets, including forward and other derivative markets
• The necessary conditions for achieving gains from international trade in carbon permits
• Positioning Australia as a ‘hub’ in the Asia – Pacific carbon market

“There are potentially significant economic opportunities for Australia if it can position itself as a regional hub in the global and Asia-Pacific carbon trading and financing markets. The forum will seek to explore these matters and discuss the preparedness of Australian financial sector is to support and take advantage of such opportunities, said Professor Ross Garnaut.

http://www.ozpolitic.com/green-tax-shift/garnaut-rubber-stamp.html
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« Last Edit: Dec 20th, 2007 at 2:55pm by freediver »  

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man - George Bernard Shaw
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freediver
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Expert warns against climate targets
Reply #1 - Jan 29th, 2008 at 12:52pm
 
This is a bit of a mixed message. It appears to indicate a preference for carbon taxes rather than trading. However I have been told by public servants that my suspicions regarding this review are correct.

Expert warns against climate targets

http://news.smh.com.au/expert-warns-against-climate-targets/20080129-1oq1.html

The economist advising the Rudd government on climate change has warned nations against locking in to strict interim greenhouse-gas reduction targets in their zeal to tackle global warming.

Prof Garnaut said it was more important to achieve an overall greenhouse-gas reduction target longer-term - for example over 40 years - than to meet short-term targets in particular years.

Instead, the market should decide how quickly to cut emissions, he said.

He denied this amounted to a recommendation that governments set looser rather than tighter emissions-reduction targets.

However, he acknowledged there was a danger that countries could leave it 10 or 20 years before doing anything if they refused to commit to interim emissions cuts.



Govt committed to carbon reduction: Wong

http://news.smh.com.au/govt-committed-to-carbon-reduction-wong/20080201-1pfw.html

The federal government remains committed to setting a short-term goal to slash greenhouse-gas emissions, despite warnings from a key adviser.

The government has promised to set a short-term target after considering a report from economist Professor Ross Garnaut, who it has asked to examine the economic costs of tackling climate change.



Govt plays down Garnaut's climate call

http://news.smh.com.au/govt-plays-down-garnauts-climate-call/20080221-1tjx.html

The federal government has tried to play down its chief climate change adviser's call for even deeper cuts to dangerous greenhouse gases.

Economist Ross Garnaut in his interim report on climate change policy says the government should set a 2020 greenhouse target this year and consider setting a tougher 2050 target.

"Australia should be ready to go beyond its stated 60 per cent reduction target by 2050 in an effective global agreement that includes developing nations," Prof Garnaut said in a statement.

Greens leader Bob Brown claims the government is trying to minimise the importance of Prof Garnaut because he has followed the science.

Prof Garnaut also cast doubt on the government's renewable energy target, saying it might not be needed once the emissions trading scheme (ETS) is established.



from crikey:

“You can probably get up to a 30% saving to start with through greater efficiencies: using fluorescent tubes instead of incandescents, four cylinder cars instead of six, insulation of building, more public transport, manufacturing and industry getting its act together and so on,” University of Melbourne Professor of Economics John Freebairn told Crikey.

Freebairn says there is one unavoidable fact in this debate: the increased cost of carbon will be passed onto consumers. A $30 to $50 per tonne carbon tax, which Freebairn says is necessary to bring gas and possibly nuclear in over coal, will double electricity prices.

Ronald Watts, Chairman of an energy market intermediary, writes: Re. "Garnaut talks tough -- and looks north" (yesterday, item 2). There's been lots of hand-wringing over how to react to climate change, with Garnaut provoking a new round. What is frustrating to many observers, economists and environmentalists alike, is that we're not even doing the easy things. What are easy things? Those that cost little or nothing; those that can be implemented within current legislative frameworks; those that provide economic incentives for adoption, instead of coercion; those that tax plainly unsustainable practices; those that removes hidden subsidies. What are some examples? There will be many that readers can think of, but my modest starting point, with national implementation understood, would be these: Start treating aircraft fuel like every other fuel, and tax it. We can go it alone here, as there aren't too many alternatives for refuelling when you fly from or within Australia. The costs to the traveller would be less than those imposed by the fraudulent frequent flyer schemes; Treat frequent flyer miles earned on employer-sponsored travel as a fringe benefit; Treat imported 4WDs as the Toorak tractors they are, and stop their favourable tariff treatment. Let genuine rural users claim the tariff back if necessary; Make building standards meet much better insulation and natural cooling standards; Make all land clearing reportable and subject to development applications; There are many other examples. Many of these measures can be done by executive fiat - i.e., quickly. What are we waiting for? Of course, many of these things would follow if we had a carbon tax (say, $50 per tonne). But that isn't quick to implement. While we're waiting, let's not sit on our hands.



Energy prices to rise with carbon costs

http://news.smh.com.au/energy-prices-to-rise-with-carbon-costs/20080320-20pj.html

Any emissions trading scheme (ETS) to combat global warming would result in soaring electricity and petrol prices, says a government discussion paper released on Thursday.

The price of electricity was expected to rise more than the price of petrol, but Prof Garnaut said he did not expect it would "more than double" in the early stages of the ETS.
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« Last Edit: Mar 20th, 2008 at 6:00pm by freediver »  

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man - George Bernard Shaw
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freediver
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Garnaut warns of fixers
Reply #2 - Mar 28th, 2008 at 1:16pm
 
http://www.theaustralian.news.com.au/story/0,25197,23443997-5014046,00.html

AUSTRALIA'S risk in combating climate change lies in a revival of rent-seekers, political lobbyists and sectional manipulators who hurt our economy for most of the past century, government adviser Ross Garnaut warned last night.

In his dinner speech to The Australian-Melbourne Institute economic and social conference, Professor Garnaut took aim at critics of his proposed emissions trading scheme, particularly those who want emissions permits issued for free.

"That approach would have government deciding which firms and which activities should be given permits to emit greenhouse gases," he said.

Professor Garnaut warned that some people saw climate change as the chance to "invite back into the centre of policy-making all of the rent-seeking interests that blighted our economic performance from the time of Federation to the 1980s".

His message was that nations could get their emissions trading schemes right or wrong with grave consequences.

An ETS was "a new market established by government decree" that relied upon government coercive powers.

As a result, "the rich possibilities for corruption of an ETS" had led many economists to favour a direct carbon tax that was transparent and "much less amenable to manipulation by private interests".

Professor Garnaut said the turning point for the ETS would be when people saw the returns were higher from investing in new markets than lobbying to get thebest political fix from government.

He said he would be optimistic once a proper ETS were established. "Well-designed markets can unleash the ingenuity of Australians in reducing emissions at minimum cost to the standard of living," he said.

He predicted this could be done without a noticeable effect on rising living standards.

In a report issued last week, Professor Garnaut identified four pillars essential for an effective ETS: the auctioning of permits, firm long-term trajectories that define emission reduction paths, a mechanism to move between trajectories and careful linkage of an Australian ETS to international schemes.



Govt tight lipped over emissions trading

http://www.ozpolitic.com/forum/YaBB.pl?num=1210996459/210#219

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd says the government will await the outcome of the Garnaut report on climate change, before it decides whether it will include petrol in its emissions trading policy.

Mr Rudd has criticised the opposition for changing its stance on the issue of a carbon trading scheme, saying it contradicts the opposition's views prior to the last election.

But its feared the introduction of petrol into an emissions trading scheme would put further pressure on petrol prices.
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« Last Edit: Jun 8th, 2008 at 8:53pm by freediver »  

The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man - George Bernard Shaw
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freediver
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Re: Is Garnaut a rubber stamp?
Reply #3 - Jul 15th, 2008 at 11:55am
 
The draft report has been released. It pays lip service to the possibility of carbon taxes, then dismisses them with a superficial justification. See chapter 14.2.2 in the full report.

http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/pages/draft-report
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The reasonable man adapts himself to the world; the unreasonable one persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man - George Bernard Shaw
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