The Garnaut report: What does it really mean for Australia?

Main points of the Garnaut Report (from The Australian, 4th July 2008)
• By 2050, unmitigated climate change on middle of the road outcomes would mean major declines in agricultural production across much of the country, including a 50 per cent reduction in irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin.• By 2100, irrigated agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin would decline by 92 per cent.

• Early economic modelling results of readily measurable unmitigated climate change for middle of the road outcomes on temperatures and decline in rainfall – indicate that climate change would wipe off around 4.8 per cent of Australia’s projected GDP, around 5.4 per cent of projected household consumption, and 7.8 per cent from real wages by 2100.

• Professor Garnaut says: “Australia would be hurt more than other developed countries by unmitigated climate change, and we therefore have an interest in encouraging the strongest feasible global effort. We are running out of time for effective global action, and it is important that we play our full part in nurturing the remaining chance.”

• Prof. Garnaut reiterates his support for an emissions trading scheme to cover as many sectors as practicable.

• The Draft Report advocates the full auctioning of emissions permits and the return of all revenue to households and business.

• The Report proposes that half the proceeds from the sale of all permits is allocated to households, around 30 per cent provided for structural adjustment needs for business (including any payments to TEEIIs), and the remaining 20 per cent allocated to research and development and the commercialisation of new technologies.

• The Draft Report states that it would be in Australia’s interest to find out as soon as possible whether there can be a low-emissions future for coal, and to support rapid deployment of commercially promising technologies.

• Professor Garnaut said that he supported the phase-out of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, once the unconstrained ETS was fully operational.

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