Garnaut Interim Review: Curtain raiser for mature debate Media Release

Feb 21, 2008 - 8:06am

Climate Institute CEO John Connor today welcomed the interim Garnaut report, describing it as the curtain raiser to a mature debate on the leadership now required to tackle climate change.

“Professor Garnaut’s interim report is a welcome first step towards a mature debate on climate change,” John Connor, the CEO of The Climate Institute said.

“It recognises the vital interplay between science-based targets, economics and international diplomacy.

“Professor Garnaut has grasped the reality - responding to climate change is a high stakes game for Australia.

“For Australians, climate change means worsening droughts, more severe floods, and impacts on key industries such as agriculture and tourism.”

“As well as recognising the risks, Professor Garnaut has recognised the opportunities that exist for Australia to work with allies to secure an effective global agreement, and unlock Australia’s clean energy resources and our innovative know how,” Mr Connor said

Professor Garnaut has been asked to examine global emission reductions between 450 and 550 parts per million in the atmosphere.  At best, scientific estimates say this would only give us a 50/50 chance of avoiding dangerous global warming of more than 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels.  A 400ppm target would be less risky.

Mr Connor said that it is critical that the Garnaut Review now focuses on even more ambitious action to avoid dangerous climate change. 

“Setting ambitious science-based targets is not only necessary but achievable and economically prudent,” said Mr Connor.

“Climate Institute economy wide modelling, undertaken with researchers from CSIRO and Monash University, released late last year shows that significant reductions can be achieved with negligible relative effect on GDP and household incomes.  

“Helping to drive solutions that begin to turn around Australia’s emissions so that they peak by 2012 will be critical in battle to avert dangerous climate change and help promote Australia’s national interest in international talks on the post-2012 climate deal to be finalised in Copenhagen next year,” said Mr Connor.

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