Releasing his Interim Report in Adelaide [Australia] today, Professor Ross Garnaut who was appointed by the new Labor government to provide policy advice on climate change, said that Australia should
promote strong global action on climate change and be prepared to match the commitments of
other developed nations.
The Executive Summary states:
This Interim Report seeks to provide a flavour of early findings from the work of the Review,
to share ideas on work in progress as a basis for interaction with the Australian community,
and to indicate the scope of the work programme through to the completion of the Review.
There are some important areas of the Review’s work that are barely touched upon in the
Interim Report, which will feature prominently in the final reports. Adaptation to climate
change, energy efficiency and the distribution of the costs of climate change across
households and regions are amongst the prominent omissions from this presentation.
Many views put forward in this Interim Report represent genuinely interim judgements. The
Review looks forward to feedback from interested people before formulating
recommendations for the final reports.
Developments in mainstream scientific opinion on the relationship between emissions
accumulations and climate outcomes, and the Review’s own work on future “business as
usual” global emissions, suggest that the world is moving towards high risks of dangerous
climate change more rapidly than has generally been understood. This makes mitigation
more urgent and more costly. At the same time, it makes the probable effects of unmitigated
climate change more costly, for Australia and for the world.
The largest source of increased urgency is the unexpectedly high growth of the world
economy in the early twenty-first century, combined with unexpectedly high energy intensity
of that growth and continuing reliance on high-emissions fossil fuels as sources of energy.
These developments are associated with strong economic growth in the developing world,
first of all in China. The stronger growth has strong momentum and is likely to continue. It is
neither desirable nor remotely feasible to seek to remove environmental pressures through
diminution of the aspirations of the world’s people for higher material standards of living. The
challenge is to end the linkage between economic growth and emissions of greenhouse
Australia’s interest lies in the world adopting a strong and effective position on climate
change mitigation. This interest is driven by two realities of Australia’s position relative to
other developed countries: our exceptional sensitivity to climate change: and our exceptional
opportunity to do well in a world of effective global mitigation. Australia playing its full part in
international efforts on climate change can have a positive effect on global outcomes. The
direct effects of Australia’s emissions reduction efforts are of secondary importance.
Australia has an important role to play alongside its international partners in establishing a
realistic approach to global mitigation. Australia can contribute to the development of clear
international understandings on the four components of a successful framework for global
mitigation: setting the right global objectives for reduction of the risk of dangerous climate
change; converting this into a goal for stabilisation of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere at
a specified level; calculating the amount of additional emissions that can be emitted into the
atmosphere over a specified number of years if stabilisation of atmospheric concentrations is
to be achieved at the desired level; and developing principles for allocating a limited global
emissions budget among countries.
Australia should make firm commitments in 2008, to 2020 and 2050 emissions targets that
embody similar adjustment cost to that accepted by other developed countries. A lead has
been provided by the European Union, and there are reasonable prospects that the United
States will become part of the main international framework after the November 2008
elections. Some version of the current State and Federal targets of 60 per cent reduction by
2050, with appropriate interim targets, would meet these requirements.
Download and read the full report here: http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/pages/reports-and-papers