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Australia ratifies Kyoto

December 3rd, 2007

Almost immediately after being sworn in as Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd has signed the instrument of ratification of the Kyoto Protocol. Of course, it’s only a first step, but one that seemed well beyond us only a couple of years ago.

The formal ratification process will take 90 days, but the effect is that Australia can take part in the Bali conference as a full participant, leaving only one significant holdout – the Bush Administration in the United States.

A significant side benefit for Australia is that our attendance at Bali as a participant rather than a spoiler will help to cement the improvement in our often fraught relationship with Indonesia, evident since Rudd replaced Howard.

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  1. December 3rd, 2007 at 19:01 | #1

    only a first step, but at least in the right direction. i have little hope that pollies can save us, they dug the hole in the first place. at least and at last in the right direction…

  2. Ian Gould
    December 3rd, 2007 at 19:28 | #2

    Technically, of course, ratification doesn’t occur until there’s a vote in the Senate. Brendam Nelson’s support makes that a bit of technically, but still.

    So, while I approve the underlying sentiment, I wish Kev had been a bit more careful in his language.

  3. Fozzy
    December 3rd, 2007 at 19:43 | #3

    I like Mungo MacCallum’s comment in today’s Crikey:

    “If you have any doubt that the election of a Rudd Labor government has changed the country, consider this: a year ago, did you imagine that the Prime Minister would be sending an openly gay woman of Chinese ancestry to Bali, to ratify the Kyoto protocol on Australia’s behalf?”

  4. December 3rd, 2007 at 20:36 | #4

    I’m in Bali at the moment for the conference. People everywhere are congratulating us for the change of government, including official delegates and representatives from the G77+China.
    It’s added a lot of energy to the debate, and the US is looked upon with increasing disdain as a result.

    Keep up to date with the Youth and NGO blogs at:
    http://www.balibuzz.info
    http://www.climatenetwork.org
    especially the ‘eco’ newsletter: http://www.climatenetwork.org/eco

    We’re all hoping for a Bali Breakthrough. Fingers crossed.

    Back on topic though, even with the new government, Australia is miles behind the European countries and is holding tight to the US language up to this point, when they have an opportunity to lead instead. At the rate we’re going, I’m sure we’ll get a ‘Fossil of the Day’ award at some stage over the next two weeks.

    And hurrah for having a government who is ok with the openly gay chinese woman in Bali – it certainly didn’t look likely a year ago!

  5. Hermit
    December 3rd, 2007 at 21:08 | #5

    This could be either a call to arms with popular support or ‘I told you so’ payback time by reactionaries. I doubt those who voted for Rudd will want higher electricity prices anytime soon on top of expensive fuel, food and interest rates. On the other hand the net emissions picture will have to improve within the government’s first term. A blind eye will be turned to coal exports needed to contain the trade gap. It will be very tempting to make the figures look better eg by announcing that modest payments to Indonesia for forest preservation somehow radically change carbon flows not just maintain the status quo.

    Barring a global economic slowdown I’m not at all confident Rudd or Kyoto generally can deliver genuine carbon cuts of the magnitude climate scientists want.

  6. Ikonoclast
    December 3rd, 2007 at 21:11 | #6

    I do indeed doubt that Rudd’s election has changed Australia. In terms of economic policy, the economic rationalists running Treasury and Finance will find Rudd simpatico in every way. He has avowed his economic conservatism, iterated his prime goal is to keep inflation down and has now flagged extra cuts to the public service. These cuts he euphemistically called efficiency dividends which of course is the precise phrase invented during the Howard era.

    If we want to talk about dog whistling then “efficiency dividends� is a dog whistling phrase to the mandarins in Treasury and Finance and to the boys at the big end of town. It says “Nothing has changed fellas. It’s business as usual.�

    On the Kyoto front, signing the piece of paper is nice but unless something substantial starts happening and soon then our goose is cooked. In fact it’s cooked anyway. The battle now is between saving a world remnant of maybe a billion people by 2100 or extinction.

    The future of the world can now be predicted with recourse to just two disciplines. These disciplines are physics and history. Physics allows us to now predict with a high degree of certainty the reality of climate change and its coming negative impacts on the environment that supports us. History, being the composite record of past human actions, allows us to predict, again with a high degree of certainty, how humans will react to this challenge. The inhumane and wasteful war in Iraq is contemporary evidence.

    Both physics and history teach us that large masses matter. When a mass or a system or a population is moving rapidly in a certain direction it has a lot of momentum. It takes a lot to stop it or change its direction.
    History shows again and again that scientists or others of reasonably objective perception can argue of danger ahead and argue for a change in direction but the masses do not and indeed often cannot take heed.

    Our current global civilization is in this exact position. We may now take some belated action but it will be too little too late as the saying goes. We have ratcheted production and populations far beyond any sustainable limit. A crash landing is inevitable.

  7. Spiros
    December 3rd, 2007 at 21:18 | #7

    “Technically, of course, ratification doesnÂ’t occur until thereÂ’s a vote in the Senate”

    Technically, that is horse poop. No such vote is required.

  8. Enemy Combatant
    December 3rd, 2007 at 21:19 | #8

    Yes, Fozzy, Mungo has found new spring in his quill, as has the nation in its step.

  9. Spiros
    December 3rd, 2007 at 21:22 | #9

    “efficiency dividends which of course is the precise phrase invented during the Howard era”

    Only if you date the Howard era from he was opposition leader 20 years ago and Hawke was PM.

  10. SJ
    December 3rd, 2007 at 22:09 | #10

    Hermit Says: I doubt those who voted for Rudd will want higher electricity prices anytime soon…

    Well, sure, and the people in Victoria and South Australia who voted for wingnut governments didn’t want higher electricty prices either, but that’s what they got via the privatisation process.

    But in Rudd’s situation, at least there’s a case to be made that the price increase is necessary to prevent some harm, rather than just diverting taxpayer funds to the private sector on the basis of some discredited ideology and/or corrupt hiring practices for pollies who leave office.

  11. Ikonoclast
    December 3rd, 2007 at 23:15 | #11

    Spiros, I stand corrected. The pernicious efficiency dividend rhetoric dates from the Hawke era as you say. Efficiency dividend is code for arbitrary cuts across the board. This is quite different from targeted cuts after proper examination of adminsitration.

    I found an excellent recent article about how Rudd is shaoing up by Jim Belshaw at http://belshaw.blogspot.com/2007/11/rudd-approach-efficiency-dividends-axe.html

    This article shows that the alarm bells are ringing for Mr Belshaw too. It shows, in my opinion, Rudd knows nothing and has learnt nothing from the sad history of corporatisation and economic rationalism.

  12. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 01:02 | #12

    “..the people in Victoria and South Australia who voted for wingnut governments didn’t want higher electricty prices either, but that’s what they got via the privatisation process.”

    Tut, tut SJ. It was Keating’s competition policy gun to the heads of the Premiers that forced them to privatise power generation and distribution to end the cross subsidy of retail consumers by wholesale users. It was always designed to reduce the costs of power to the employers of labour and that’s precisely what it did, whilst helping improve the demand for labour in the long run. We’ve run a long way in that direction you’ll notice.

    You lot all getting a bit nervous about Ruddy coming back waving that ‘Cooling in our time’ piece of paper now? He donned the moral badge and shot his big mouth off plenty and now we’ll see if he can deliver eh? 6% reductions by the end of his term or he’s a wriggly worm. He’s got all the moral badge wearing Premiers right behind him too now. No excuses and no spolier bogeyman to hide behind.

  13. December 4th, 2007 at 05:28 | #13

    hmm. in this mob, i’m the optimist. things must be worse than i thought.

    really, people, time after time you say, effectively, that this political structure we have inherited from hastings can not deliver adequate response to the resource/climate catastrophe we are facing.

    but you never take the next step: change the structure. are you afraid of lightning strike if you whisper “democracy”, or do you imagine that a society that had citizen initiative and direct election would be less dynamic?

  14. 2 tanners
    December 4th, 2007 at 07:51 | #14

    I think it might be a LITTLE early to celebrate our newfound amity with Indonesia, despite the Chinese press report of the joy of unnamed Indonesian officials.

    Let’s see either a significant bilateral advance, or both parties do well on a tough issue.

  15. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 08:09 | #15

    I’ll tell you why I think Kyoto has been such a failure to date and why it will continue to be in future. Essntially Prof Garnaut has been commissioned by the Rudd Govt and the states to review and assess the problem of CC and the remedies. That he does here-
    http://www.garnautreview.org.au/CA25734E0016A131/pages/public-forums-public-lecture
    Now it’s not too hard to see where he/they are going on this and the problems they’re skating over as I point out here-

    Time to rip into Rudd’s flunky in Garnaut. Overall he sets out the issues fairly well but then the slip begins to show. OK, so global economic growth and ‘climate change’(we don’t call it warming anymore)are ‘the defining challenge of our time’. Then the bit about ‘how we can develop market-based approaches to mitigation and adatation wherever these are likely to be effective’ (throw a bone to the price fans)…’and how we can introduce rigour into analysis of the case for other forms of intervention when their is clear evidence of market failure.’ (basically how we can spin the case for quantity controls where we really wannabe) Of course you need to be politically pragmatic and let the boss off the hook, when he’s about to trip off to the handwringing junket to Bali- ‘It is not likely that a sound agreement on a global emissions budget will emerge from a negotiation in a single, large multilateral, inter-governmental meeting’ Basically don’t be too hard on the boss enjoying his first junket as they’re quite a mouthful as you well know. Then after extolling the virtues of a global carbon tax he prepares us for Rudd’s booby prize- ‘It should be noted at the beginning [more junkets will be needed] that for some countries, and probably all developing countries for the time being, an efficient ETS is probably impractical, and a market-based mitigation effort would need to be built around a carbon tax.’ [Not us stupid because we’re the efficient, practical types naturally]
    Then the piece de resistance- ‘The central challenge [sic ETS] is to establish credibility.’ There’s no doubt we need to establish plenty of that given Kyoto’s foray into an efficient and practical ETS to date. Well done Ross. Go to the top of the class but leave your books behind cos you’ll be back son.

    Why do I think he/they’ll be back real soon? Simply because they’re asking us to believe we can somehow control this WMD, par excellence, at the consumption end of the cycle, rather than the production end. They need to seriously reverse engineer the nature of the problem and see how that looks and if they don’t like what they see there, they can forget what they’re looking at now. Essentially we need to reduce the production of this WMD at the coal mine, the gas and well head etc, not to mention controlling the rate of chopping down trees and burning them. That means we have to reduce doing that at our current rate, by 60% by 2050, or get cracking at the rate of about 2% pa for the next 30 odd years. These nincompoops want to cap it all at the consumption end, presumably, ultimately getting down to micro caps of carbon credit cards and the like, when they could have a much simpler task, introducing cap and trade on the mines and well heads. That of course still needs the huge hurdle of international agreement, as well as all the carbon WMD inspectors and their preferred cap and trade scheme to see which mines and well heads will ultimately produce the 40% residual rate of extraction. No mean task in and of itself, but these dreamers are off trying the more Herculean task of capping consumption. Apparently we’re being told while Oz consumers accept draconian caps on consumption and its concomitant blue sky price price, our burgeoning carbon export infrastructure, coupled with an education revolutionary skillset, will be shipping coal and LNG off around the world to those inefficient and impractical people who will only be able to wear a small carbon tax in the forseeable future. Meanwhile the GW continues apace and trogs like the Observa just can’t get his head and heart around the good sense and moral purpose of it all.

  16. Spiros
    December 4th, 2007 at 08:34 | #16

    Observa, putting a price on carbon at the consumption end will soon translate into less demand for it and then there will be less production. Makers of stuff don’t generally keep making stuff they won’t sell; not if they want to stay in business.

    Anyhow, it is mistake to think that the domest politics of climate change are now going be hunky dory. The Labor Party has its own climate change denialists, and one of them, Martin Ferguson, has a seat at the Cabinet table as Minister for Resources.

  17. exposethefakes
    December 4th, 2007 at 08:48 | #17

    John, I really don’t understand why so many intelligent academics such as yourself feel that we have to bend ourselves into contortions to make the Indonesians feel good about themselves.

    After all if one objectively looks at the relationship in recent years it has been a case of a lot of give on the part of Australia and a lot of take on behalf of the Indonesians.

    Whether it is the fact that for the past 3 consecutive years on Indonesian Independence Day Bali bombers and their associates have had sentence commutations or reductions, a billion dollars in Tsunami relief, Australians dying in the course of helping aid efforts in Aceh, Indonesian obstructionism over the Balibo 5 oh and then there is the fact that some young Aussies are going to be executed.

    I’m glad you feel that Rudd and his lackies hanging out at the Four Seasons in Bali will improve our relationship, as most Australians are really concerned about how poorly we treat Indonesia.

  18. December 4th, 2007 at 10:29 | #18

    The UN Climate Change talks have begun in Bali, setting the agenda for the next phase of the Kyoto Protocol, and presenting a historic opportunity for Australia get serious about climate change.

    After years of standing apart from the global community on the issue, finally ratifying Kyoto puts us back inside the circle of trust. And what we do this fortnight will help determine how the next two years of international climate change negotiations play out – negotiations that are critical to the survival of our planet. And I thought my first day on the job was daunting.

    The pressure is on. But luckily Rudd doesn’t have to go it alone. He has the support of his new Treasurer Wayne Swan, Finance Minister Simon Crean, Climate Change Minister Penny Wong and Environment Minister and long-standing environment activist Peter Garrett. He also has the support of the world’s top scientists, the Nobel Prize winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, who have warned that the state of the planet is dire and we must act now to avoid dangerous global warning. Most importantly he has a mandate from the Australian people, who have shown how much they care about the issue by voting him in the first place.

    Ratifying the Kyoto Protocol was a good first step. But to really do our bit to avoid dangerous climate change, Australia must stop emissions from increasing in the next term of Government and ensure they rapidly decline thereafter. The only way to do this is to begin the switch out of coal. This means halting the planned growth of the coal industry, and then starting to replace existing coal-fire power stations with renewable energy.

    Climate change was the linchpin of Rudd’s landslide election victory, but what he does from today and over the next three years will be his political epitaph.

  19. FDB
    December 4th, 2007 at 10:36 | #19

    “Australia Ratifies Kyoto”

    *golf claps*

  20. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 14:58 | #20

    “Observa, putting a price on carbon at the consumption end will soon translate into less demand for it and then there will be less production. Makers of stuff don’t generally keep making stuff they won’t sell; not if they want to stay in business.”
    Elementary my dear Spiros, but describe to me how you propose to put up a consumption cap, that’s comprehensive and largely unavoidable? Issue us all with carbon credit cards and have armies of tax eaters assessing the carbon content of everything we buy so we don’t exceed our carbon consumption quota? This is the Pandora’s Box, the slippery slope, etc, the Emissions Trading Schemers really want us to all embark upon. Failing that(the impossible task), they simply cap a few big intermediate consumers in Oz and let them pass on the costs to we final consumers. What will we rationally do in the absence of any comprehensive carbon credit card scheme? We’ll import our carbon from the cheapest source, namely those that don’t have such price caps like India and China. To overcome this fatal flaw is relatively simple. It’s the KISS principle. We need to cap and trade carbon at its much tighter source, rather than it’s hugely diverse distribution diaspora. Essentially we cap and trade this CO2 equivalent, which is a simple technical calculation of say the particular source’s CO2e emission to produce its most efficient Kwhr of electricity. Clearly the extractors of Leigh Creek lignite would need to buy more CO2e extraction rights per tonne of lignite than say Hunter Valley black coal extractors per tonne and so forth with LNG and oil. The equation is the same with a universal Extraction Trading Scheme, but with KISS added. As Garnaut so succinctly puts it- ‘The central challenge is to establish credibility.’ of any cap and trade scheme and I put it to you that screams- Extraction Trading Scheme. Just look around you in OZ. How many extraction points do you see and how many consumption points? Sheesh, it ain’t bloody rocket science, but we’re surrounded with astral travellers, or at least the Balinese are now. It’s fossil fuels for chrissakes and it’s in the ground. Cap and trade it where it comes out, not when it’s floating about the bloody ether!

  21. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 15:04 | #21

    ..and if you can’t manage that then shutup and stop hogging the bong!

  22. Tom Davies
    December 4th, 2007 at 15:35 | #22

    @observa: “the extractors of Leigh Creek lignite would need to buy more CO2e extraction rights per tonne of lignite than say Hunter Valley black coal extractors per tonne”

    Don’t you mean that they would both buy the same rights per ton (given that the CO2 output is about the same), but this would mean that the Lignite users would be buying more rights per KWHr of electricity they produced?

  23. rog
    December 4th, 2007 at 15:38 | #23

    I doubt if signing Kyoto will wipe the slate clean of the Balibo 5, Timor, Irian Jaya, Jemiah Islamiah and a host of other “tensions”

    And I also doubt that the appearance of a gay chinese will warm the hearts of the conservative muslim of Indonesia

  24. swio
    December 4th, 2007 at 16:47 | #24

    Can’t help agreeing with the idea of controlling carbon when its pulled out of the ground rather than when its consumed. The number of sources of carbon fossil fuels is tiny compared to the number of fossil fuel emitting devices. And its alot easier to calculate carbon content by counting tonnes of coal or barrels of oil as they come out of the ground instead of trying to work out how much carbon is coming out of a hundred million exhaust pipes. I’d prefer a carbon tax though. Make it even simpler.

  25. Spiros
    December 4th, 2007 at 16:57 | #25

    “We’ll import our carbon from the cheapest source, namely those that don’t have such price caps like India and China”

    So what you are saying, Obs, is that Chinese electricity generators will send us electricity over very long power lines.

    I have to say, I find this to be implausible. I don’t think they’ll be sending us any cheap petrol either.

  26. Ian Gould
    December 4th, 2007 at 17:53 | #26

    ““Technically, of course, ratification doesnÂ’t occur until thereÂ’s a vote in the Senateâ€?

    Technically, that is horse poop. No such vote is required.”

    Well if we’re going to get get finicky, treaties may be ratified by the executive but don’t have legal effect until incorporated into Australian law.

    However the Howard government adopted the proposal for Treaties to be laid before Parliament for comment before signing. Admittedly in the case of Kyoto, it’s not like it hasn’t already been discussed to death.

  27. Ian Gould
    December 4th, 2007 at 17:58 | #27

    Observa: “Essntially Prof Garnaut has been commissioned by the Rudd Govt and the states to review and assess the problem of CC and the remedies….

    Time to rip into Rudd’s flunky in Garnaut.”

    Garnaut was actually commissioned by the Howard government but I guess admitting that would make it hardly to dismiss him as Rudd’s flunky.

  28. Spiros
    December 4th, 2007 at 18:13 | #28

    Garnaut was commissioned by the states, but this was always a transparent cover for Rudd.

  29. Ian Gould
    December 4th, 2007 at 21:45 | #29

    Spiros, I stand corrected once again.

  30. Arjay
    December 4th, 2007 at 22:06 | #30

    It was the only act that this Labor Govt could do with any confidence,since it is absolutely symbolic and many nations miss their targets,while China and India make merry with hundreds of extra coal powered electricity stations.China alone increases its pollution by the sum total of ours every 10 mnths.Do we really think that in our wildest dreams that China will take any notice even if we have zero emitions?This bunch of Labor lightweights do not have a clue.You could see it in their eyes in the the lead up to the group photo.They could not believe their luck.I hope they come to realise the gravity of their responsibilities.

  31. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 23:03 | #31

    “Don’t you mean that they would both buy the same rights per ton (given that the CO2 output is about the same), but this would mean that the Lignite users would be buying more rights per KWHr of electricity they produced?”

    Essentially yes because it’s tied up with the notion of CO2 equivalent explained here-
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carbon_dioxide_equivalent
    We need to remember that burning crude oil in the form of petrol and diesel produces other GGs that perhaps LPG doesn’t, so they need to be made ‘equivalent’. Basically you’d expect burning a tonne of lignite to produce more overall GGs than a tonne of black coal, just like light sweet and heavy crudes, etc. This is essentially a technical measuring problem and is inherent in both forms of cap and trade under discussion.

    “So what you are saying, Obs, is that Chinese electricity generators will send us electricity over very long power lines.”

    Well if the cap price rises high enough in one jurisdiction whilst remaining stagnant in another it may be economic over time. Who knows what the price of of one tonne of CO2e emission right today will be worth in 30 years when it’s gradually reduced say 2%pa to a 0.4 tonne right. Think of beachfront property in 30 years and running hydro power under Bass Strait from Tas. Anyway you are missing the point Spiros. What’s to stop China buying our coal, turning into electricity to drive a car plant and exporting(transmitting?) that power to our showrooms, whilst you (or the Rudd Govt)places an emissions cap on our car makers, jacking up their costs? Why on earth do you think the NSW Govt gave Onesteel a 30 year exemption on emission costs to build a new steel plant in NSW? Furthermore electricity isn’t the end of the road. Do you want to put an emissions cap on every local servo, or at the well where the crude originally comes from? It’s a no brainer. Recall Garnaut again- ‘The central challenge is to establish credibility.’ Credibility means workable and administratively feasible. That also requires us all to face the same cost of reduced supply inherent in any global cap, no matter what the source. Like swio I prefer a carbon tax, but if it’s cap and trade I’m told we have to have, then I’ll roll over and compromise if it’s at all credible. That’s an Extraction Trading Scheme (ExtracTS) in my book, or else you’re really dreaming. Kyoto to date, with its Emissions Trading Scheme(EmiTS) should tell you that.

  32. observa
    December 4th, 2007 at 23:28 | #32

    Oh and here’s why we’ll ultimately need to move to reliance on resource taxing, rather than current income/company taxing, unless you think these are nice guys just being white knights for the RIO Board-
    http://www.news.com.au/business/story/0,23636,22869185-31037,00.html

  33. observa
    December 5th, 2007 at 07:54 | #33

    Can I take it that’s settled then? Mr Metoo goes to Kyoto, but with ExtracTS, because we’ve got some of the best black coal, LNG and natural gas going around and naturally we’re prepared to put it all on the table in a global cap and trade on the use of fossil fuels. Only thinking of the polar bears of course.

  34. observa
    December 5th, 2007 at 08:27 | #34

    And while we’re all focussed on the polar bears, it might just be that with the cap’s hike in fossil fuel price, it makes more economic sense to value add the coal, bauxite, minerals etc, into steel, aluminium, etc and further value add it into hybrids and solar panels, etc closer to the source of the raw materials, before exporting/transmitting it all around the globe. Polar bear industry policy to boot eh? Then if we could just get that education revolution happening… hummmm… Blue skies, nothing but blue skies, from now on…

  35. Peter Wood
    December 5th, 2007 at 11:38 | #35

    There are some economic reasons for resource taxation as well as environmental ones:

    http://www.theage.com.au/articles/2007/11/10/1194329562546.html

    Until almost all countries have a carbon price signal in almost all sectors or are successfully reducing emissions I see there being a case for both a domestic cap and trade scheme ( or carbon tax ) and a tax on fossil fuel exports or extraction. I agree with Garnaut that the central problem is that of achieving international cooperation ( in a repeated multi player prisoners dilemma ), so taxes on exports could be targeted at free riders.

  36. John Greenfield
    December 5th, 2007 at 12:59 | #36

    Oh they’re not going back to the future with Ross Garnaut are they? Good grief, didn’t we get enough of him as Keating’s flunkie?

  37. John Greenfield
    December 5th, 2007 at 13:05 | #37

    JQ

    Your framing of Australian foreign policy decisions in terms of how well they please that model international citizen, Indonesia, is a worry. Dude, cultural cringe went out with fond-du and Sea Monkeys. Grow a backbone for goodness sake!

    Oh, and how successful has Indonesia’s carbon reduction strategies been? Compliance with UN human rights conventions, blah, blah, blah?

  38. observa
    December 5th, 2007 at 13:44 | #38

    Here’s a pretty good summary of the nature of the problem we need to deal with close at hand- http://www.atimes.com/atimes/Southeast_Asia/IL05Ae01.html
    With Canada and Japan beginning to take over our previous stance with the US on Kyoto to date, doesn’t C-change Ruddy need a credible proposal to help put Humpty back together again?

  39. John Bignucolo
    December 5th, 2007 at 14:32 | #39

    Oh they’re not going back to the future with Ross Garnaut are they? Good grief, didn’t we get enough of him as Keating’s flunkie?

    Is this the
    CV
    of a Paul Keating flunky

    Career Highlights

    Australian Ambassador to China (1985-88); Senior Economic Adviser to Prime Minister R.J.L. Hawke (1983-85); First Assistant Secretary (Head of the Division of General Financial and Economic Policy), Papua New Guinea Department of Finance (1975-76); Research Director of the ASEAN-Australia Economic Relations Research Project (1981-83); Foundation Director, Asia-Pacific School of Economics and Management (1998-2000).

    or is this version of his flunkiness:

    Professor Ross Garnaut has had a distinguished career as a policy advisor, a diplomat, a businessman and a professor at the Australian National University.

    He was a highly influential advisor to Prime Minister Bob Hawke, who led the major wave of economic policy reform to the Australian economy in the 1980s. Then Garnaut was Australia’s Ambassador to China at a time in which Australia greatly strengthened its links with China.

    In business, Professor Garnaut has chaired two Australian banks and currently chairs Lihir Gold Limited and Sequoia Capital Management Ltd. He has continued whilst in business to work as a serious economist, writing influential books and articles on economic trends and policy directions.

    Ross Garnaut is on the Boards of Directors of a number of international research and policy organizations, including the Lowy Institute for International Policy (Sydney), Asialink (Melbourne), the Centre for Strategic and international Studies (Jakarta), the International Food Policy Research Institute (Washington), the China Center for Economic Research (Beijing), and chair the editorial boards of the Journal of Asian Pacific Economic Literature and the Bulletin of Indonesian Economic Studies.

    Most of the posters to Prof. Quiggin’s blog demonstrably live as members of the reality-based community. They even use Google from time to time to verify their assertions before posting. So the question arises Mr Greenfield, what are you doing here?

  40. rog
    December 5th, 2007 at 17:06 | #40

    Garnaut writes in Henry Thornton, its refreshing to read a view that is devoid of all the usual partisan claptrap.

  41. melanie
    December 5th, 2007 at 19:18 | #41

    Does anyone actually know where we are in relation to our Kyoto target? According to Wikipedia there is an unsourced “analysis” that says we are only 1% above our target of +8% by 2012. But the same Wikipedia article cites UNFCCC saying that in 2004 we were at +24%. Kev is citing the former figure. Have we managed gigantic reductions in the past 3 years?

  42. Hermit
    December 5th, 2007 at 20:15 | #42

    melanie
    I make it 22% over from top-of-the-head figures. I remember that 2006 emissions in CO2e were 565 Mt including an out of nowhere deduction of 32 Mt for changes in land clearing. Therefore ‘real’ emissions are 597 Mt. But 533 (=565-32) we are told is unadjusted 1990 emissions X 108% X 101% so 1990 must have been about 488 Mt if this is the approach used. So the unfudged increase should really be 597 as to 488 or around 22%. Of course there must be rounding error.

    Memo to the on-track camp; 1% is bollocks.

  43. Peter Wood
    December 5th, 2007 at 20:19 | #43

    The +8% over 1990 figures includes emissions from land use, land use change, and forestry. If you didn’t include this sector then Australia’s emissions are much higher than 1990 levels.

    It seems that Australian climate negotiators are still up to the same dirty tricks and are opposing the strong targets for developing countries that are supported by the EU by 2020:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/05/2109847.htm

    Rudd’s position on this will be a real test of whether he is serious about climate change.

  44. Peter Wood
    December 5th, 2007 at 20:55 | #44

    oops – the previous post should have read ‘targets for *developed* countries’

  45. observa
    December 6th, 2007 at 00:21 | #45

    Ah well, they almost got through a week in office
    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/05/2109847.htm
    What odds Oily getting his job back again fielding questions on CC when they hit the tarmac in Oz eh?

  46. observa
    December 6th, 2007 at 00:23 | #46

    He’ll be the one up front minus sunglasses and wearing the funny shirt.

  47. December 6th, 2007 at 05:59 | #47

    Congratulations on your new government. If only US voters could put Bush out to pasture today with the 3 cows on his ranch.
    Regarding the links below – I’m no Californian but my own state is now looking at and passsing programs which the Golden State has pioneered.

    Now get off your blogs and get busy! ;)

    http://www.nrdc.org/onearth/06spr/ca1.asp

    http://www.climatechange.ca.gov/

    http://climateprogress.org/2007/12/03/california-dreamin-becomes-reality-part-ii/ [also part I ]

  48. BilB
    December 6th, 2007 at 07:51 | #48

    Jay Alt,

    Thankyou for those links, that is all inspiring material, especially Gov S’s speech for that signing of the low carbon fuel bill. Not being there we do not hear the California gossip. I have the impression that Arnie has been successful in working with both republicans and democrats on this and has solid support. Is this the case?

    By the way, I make no apology for avoiding Arnie’s full name, take a look at Executive Order S-06-06 half way down at the “NOW, THEREFORE,” part. If you guys can’t get it right I am certainly not going to try.

  49. Peter Wood
    December 6th, 2007 at 11:31 | #49

    It looks like Australia might be supporting strong emissions reductions after all:

    http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2007/12/06/2110959.htm

    woohoo!

  50. BilB
    December 9th, 2007 at 05:53 | #50

    Reason,

    Why do you think that there are costs involved here? All indications are that there are significant savings to be had and improvement of life style to be gained as a result of reconfiguring our primary energy sources. For Australia this all comes at an opportune time as much of our electricity energy infrastructure is up for renewal and our native oil stocks are in decline.

  51. December 10th, 2007 at 14:21 | #51

    Great post.
    I think you’ll comment our blog..
    Thank You

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