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Dear All

Following is my letter published in today’s AFR. It conflicts with the paper’s editorial, headed “A carbon price is inevitable”, which claims that Gillard’s (latest) committee idea is “a good one”. It argues that this responds to a call from attendees at its recent energy conference for a price that will result in much needed energy investment.

Des Moore

Delay needed on carbon price
letter published in The Australian Financial Review, 29 September 2010

The Treasury advised  the incoming government to rapidly implement an emissions trading scheme (“Take action on climate now, warns Treasury”, September 25). That advice claimed that “too much time has already been wasted – for which the Australian community will necessarily pay a high price”.

Now the Gillard government has ignored that advice by commissioning yet another review in Rudd-like style. Despite the many requests for certainty for energy investors, this review will not be completed until end 2011. Why can’t use be made of the enormous research already done on the object of the review - a carbon price?

However, the commissioning of yet another report from Garnaut may serve a useful purpose. His Final Report (sic) concluded that “Australian material living standards are likely to grow strongly through the 21st century, with or without mitigation”. Assuming Garnaut does not change his “expert” assessment, this means that, even if Australia does nothing to reduce supposed damage from higher temperatures, there will be very little adverse effect on GDP even by 2100.

That, in turn, would allow the government to postpone any action on reducing emissions of greenhouse gases and avoid the present Australian community from having to “pay a high price” from having no ETS. Also relevant here is the statement in Garnaut’s final report  that “the main costs of climate change ... accrue in the 22nd and 23rd centuries and beyond”.

By then it is very  likely the next generation will have scientific solutions to  any dangerous warming from CO2 emissions.

For example, Treasury’s own modelling published in October 2008 assumed that carbon capture and storage technology will be available on a commercial scale from 2020 in both Australia and the world.

Taking account also of the many incorrect claims made in Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports as revealed by Climategate, there is an unanswerable case for postponing the setting of a carbon price (whether through an ETS or a tax) until the science has been reviewed by qualified independents, that is, not the believers in the need for a carbon price.

Des Moore
South Yarra Vic  

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