Labor dependence on Garnaut misguided




Australian Financial Review

7th January 2008

References in square brackets omitted by Editorial


It is disappointing that your otherwise excellent editorial on the need for clarity regarding carbon trading (January 2 )made no mention of the recent minority report by the environment committee of the United States Senate. For some unknown reason that report has so far only been  referred to in the Murdoch press in Australia.


It is, however, of considerable importance because it shows, once and for all, that there is no scientific consensus on the underlying thesis of Intergovernmenal Panel on Climate Change reports that the increase in global temperatures over the last 100 years is primarily due to increased emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases. The Senate report disputing this thesis is endorsed by over 400 prominent scientists from more than two dozen countries [and resulted in even a Washington Post journalist acknowledging that climate sceptics "appear to be expanding rather than shrinking"].


In these circumstances the apparent reliance for its emission's policy by the new Labor Government on a report by economist Ross Garnaut is clearly misguided. While the economic implications of any emissions policy are of obvious importance, it would be putting the cart before the horse to determine such a policy based on such implications. [What is needed first is a comprehensive analysis of the scientific basis of the IPCC thesis, with scientists from both sides on the reporting committee. There are of course a number of highly qualified Australian scientists who dispute the IPCC thesis.]


In short, clarity can only come from proper consideration of both the science and the economics of action to reduce CO2 emissions, whether by carbon trading or other means.