Look out Abbott, there’s a real Lord criticising your Climate Policy!

Abbott-fiddling-global-warmUnambitious Australia needs to do more to tackle climate change, Canberra Times, April 3, 2014 – 

Australia plays an important role as a leading economy within the international community, and host of this year’s summit of the G20 countries.

How it tackles the threat of climate change is of global importance as developing countries look to rich countries to set an example because of their better technologies and history of high emissions of greenhouse gases.

Australia’s current policy settings and institutions hold out prospects for doing its fair share in a global effort that has to increase over time. Repeal of these policies would be a setback for the Australian and international effort.

I hope that Western Australians will be mindful of their contribution to a global effort when they choose between candidates in Saturday’s Senate election.

Other countries are making big efforts……..

Australia still has the highest emissions of greenhouse gases per person in the developed world, but the government has retained the weak commitment to reduce Australia’s annual emissions only by 5 per cent target by 2020 compared with 2000.

It wants these cuts to be achieved through the ‘Direct Action’ of giving subsidies to polluters to encourage them to reduce their emissions, rather than through requiring them to pay for their pollution.

This combination of an unambitious emissions reduction target with subsidies to polluters does not constitute a credible way of promoting the transition to a low-carbon economy.

The international community is now gearing up for new agreement on climate change to be signed in Paris in 2015, after all countries, including Australia, agreed in 2010 that global emissions of greenhouse gases need to be cut sharply by 2050 in order to avoid the huge risks that would be associated with a rise in global average temperature of more than 2 C.

Although many countries are cutting their emissions, there needs to be an acceleration of action to avoid breaching the 2 C threshold.

If the world heads towards warming of 4 C or more, as it risks on its current track, it would be deeply dangerous for Australia and every other nation that is vulnerable and exposed to the impacts of climate change.

What really matters now is the credibility and ambition of action to tackle climate change, and Australia seems to be showing neither.

Australia could and should do much more, while also ushering in a new era of clean, efficient and sustainable economic growth.

Professor Lord Nicholas Stern is I.G. Patel Professor of Economics and Government at London School of Economics and Political Science and President of the British Academy. http://www.canberratimes.com.au/comment/unambitious-australia-needs-to-do-more-to-tackle-climate-change-20140403-zqq7d.html

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