The carbon price: three months on

The UQ Risk and Sustainable Management Group, which I lead, held a small workshop last week, looking at early experience with the carbon price. We plan to produce an edited volume from it, to be published early next year. A few items of information that were new(ish) to me;

* There’s been a lot of work going on to tighten up estimates of climate sensitivity (conventionally measured as the equilibrium response to a doubling of CO2). The news on this front has been moderately good. The worst case catastrophes are less likely and stabilization at 475 ppm would give a 90 per cent chance of holding the global temperature increase to 2C or less. This is excellent news, since, as I’ve argued previously, it will be a lot easier to get to 475 than to the internationally agreed target of 450. We’re adding about 2ppm/year, so the extra 25ppm more or less offsets the decade of delay we’ve just experienced.

* Just by selecting the right breeding stock, we might be able to reduce methane emissions (belches and farts) from ruminants by around 30 per cent

* Soil carbon storage, much beloved of Opposition climate spokesman Greg Hunt and others, is (almost) a complete furphy

83 thoughts on “The carbon price: three months on

  1. @BilB Obama did not fight for cap and trade even when he could have won.

    there were 5 republican senators who would have voted for cap and trade in April 2010: Lindsey Graham, Susan Collins, Olympia Snowe, Scott Brown, and George LeMieux.

    Obama could have fought harder to get a Bill passed by the House though the Senate but he did not. He lacked the political skills to build the coalitions even within his own party to deliver.

  2. @Jim Rose Those large numbers are still there and still standing, 2% GDP.

    You still deny that insurance is taking a hit;

    “The Insurance Council of Australia reports that weather related incidents accounted for 32% of all general insurance claims in 2007, as compared to 12.3% in 2000. The trend in weather related claims pose an escalating risk for the general insurance industry and community as a whole, given the expectations of increased severity of weather events.”

  3. @rog same thing is happening for hurricane insurers. the value of beach front property and property values in general are rising fast despite the threat on rising sea levels.

  4. @Jim Rose

    Re your scary numbers concerns – Just thought you’d like to know that Price Waterhouse Coopers have joined the great global greeny science conspiracy.

    Maybe you could enlighten us further on which evil forces are involved that we cant guess at. I’d most like to hear your views on the possible involvement of the illuminati, Bildebergs, Knights Templar and Emperor Xenu – Swiss Re of course is a given.

  5. Sandy’s havoc makes planning a priority – by Dr Andrew Ash, director of CSIRO’s Climate Adaptation Flagship

    “Since Hurricane Sandy, far more media attention and debate in Australia has focused on the causation argument than on the need to better adapt to these extreme weather events, particularly in our coastal cities and settlements where most of Australia’s population resides.
    This issue is especially important when you also consider Australia’s population growth and that more people are living in potentially vulnerable locations in settlements and cities on flood plains or near the coast.

    This urbanisation has led to a much greater investment in infrastructure in these areas.
    Consequently, the damage bill resulting from extreme weather events has been increasing rapidly in the last few decades in both economic and social terms.

    This trend is set to continue. In south-east Queensland the number of dwellings at risk from a 1-in-100 year storm tide is expected to nearly double by 2030 based on current development patterns.

    Most of this increased risk is from a rapidly growing population occupying vulnerable areas though a small amount of the increased exposure is due to the modest amount of sea-level-rise expected by 2030.”

    Read more:

    In reality the over arching problem we are facing is far more complex than most are willing or even capable to acknowledge.

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