Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Climate Change Hot Topic

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Climate Change Hot Topic

Article excerpt

A LITTLE more than a week ago, Professor Ross Garnaut released the next stage of his report into the impact of climate change in Australia.

This Supplementary Draft Report, entitled Targets and Trajectories outlines more detailed recommendations for implementing strategies for climate change mitigation, including emissions trading, and the costs associated with such strategies.

Prof Garnaut has recommended that Australia introduce a system of emissions trading to begin in 2010, with a fixed carbon price of $20 a tonne, increasing by four per cent, plus the rate of inflation, each year.

He urges Australia to argue for a global concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere of 550 parts per million by 2020.

Prof Garnaut admits that his recommendations will not be effective in halting the impact of climate change on the Great Barrier Reef, or even allow us to redress the impact on the Murray-Darling River system.

He recognises that a global concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide of 450 parts per million would be a better target for Australia. Why does he not base his recommendations on this target?

Because to take the steps to do that, he judges, will not, at this point in time, be economically or politically acceptable on the world scene.

The questions of mitigation of climate change, the impact of carbon emissions trading and its associated costs, and international negotiations in this area, are complex and difficult.

But they are now part of our national and international agenda, and we can't ignore them.

These questions must be considered along with all those other questions we address when we explore our political, economic and social landscape.

They are all now intertwined and interconnected.

Last week I heard a comment on this issue that concerned me. A prominent figure was quoted as saying that when poverty walks in the door, "love for the environment walks out".

I agree that when a person is dealing with poverty, personal survival and that of their family becomes all-absorbing. However, we can no longer think about poverty, unemployment, job creation, or social security separately from environmental factors. …

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