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Thursday, September 4, 2008

Garnaut Review Releases Supplementary Report

The Garnaut Review has completed work on a draft supplemental report outlining recommended targets and timetables for greenhouse gas emissions reductions. The report generally supports Australia's long-term target of 60% emissions reductions (relative to 2000) by 2050, but proposes an interim target of a 5-10% reduction by 2020 (depending on how far the international community is willing to go). Undoubtedly, many in the environmental community will find this to be inadequate, but to his credit Garnaut acknowledges the significant difficulties that exist with respect to getting international agreement on significant near-term targets:

"It is not realistic to expect that the international community would, in
the few years immediately ahead, agree on the even tighter emissions
containments and reductions consistent with a 450 world."

As such, Garnaut argues that stabilising greenhouse gas concentrations at 550 ppm would be a significant accomplishment, although Australia should continue to push for more stringent cuts.

The report also looks at the question of the costs and benefits of mitigation and finds that Australia will suffer a modest cost in its pursuit of a 550 ppm target over the next half century, but this cost will be recovered in the latter half of the century due to avoided climate damages and other economic benefits.

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