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Garnaut’s comments put pressure on Green Party to pass an ETS this year

February 4, 2011

Ross Garnaut’s two-stage carbon plan, expressed in the first of eight Update Papers to his 2008 report, increases pressure on Senator Christine Milne and the Green Party to allow a price on carbon to get through the Senate this year.

The Green Party has rejected it on two occasions. The last time was December 2009. If it had passed we would be pricing carbon now. If it had passed, Victoria would be closing its filthy coal-fired power stations. If it had passed, a $200 million Santos liquefied natural gas plant would be under construction in Queensland. It would be 70 per cent less polluting than coal. It was cancelled when the Green Party blocked the ETS.

Thanks to the Green Party’s purity, Australia has not made a start with a carbon price.

For those who say the Rudd plan of 2009 was defective or incomplete or imperfect or flawed, consider Garnaut’s argument: “making a start with a carbon price, even something that won’t get us all the way in one step…” is the important thing. That’s the essence: “making a start.”

Professor Garnaut, delivered the report ‘Weighing the costs and benefits of climate change action’ to the government on February 3. You can read it at

Speaking yesterday he said climate change cannot be directly blamed for recent flooding or Cyclone Yasi but scientific evidence shows such extreme events are associated with warming.

“The greater energy in the atmosphere and the seas can intensify extreme events and I’m afraid that we’re feeling some of that today, and we’re feeling that at a time when global warming is in its early stages.”

I tackled the link between climate change and the recent floods under “Climate Change and Floods” (January 21). See below.

With Green Party votes in the Senate, Australia can go from being laggard to leader but the party will be tested: a party of permanent protest or one that can help shape actual policy.

  1. Daniel permalink
    February 4, 2011 11:19 am

    I disagree with Garnaut. Whats the point of locking in failure for the big polluters. We need to be on top of this and get it right the first time or it will cost taxpayers more in the end. On this one Bob you have got it wrong. Party on…..Go Greens.

  2. February 4, 2011 11:22 am

    Garnaut is on the money. Bob, see a related post on my blog today at

  3. Karen Joynes permalink
    February 5, 2011 6:30 pm

    Garnaut is right to say we need to make a start, even if only to give hope to those of us who are desperate to see something happen. We can make adjustments to the plan along the way but somehow I doubt the politicians in charge these days will be willing to make the hard decision to act because it will be out of favour with the vast majority of people who don’t want to know. Probably all too late anyway, but we need to make an effort just in case we can turn things around. Afraid the Greens have lost me on a few fronts. Taxpayers will always be the ones to pay – corporations will always find a way to pass the extra costs on to consumers i.e. taxpayers. Shareholders and CEO’s won’t suffer.

  4. Watson permalink
    February 6, 2011 8:12 am

    While I agree that the Greens need to work with the Labor Government to introduce a carbon tax, nothing is ever as simple as it looks.

    Recent estimates from the US of the leakage of the GHG methane (up to 70 times more powerful than CO2) from LNG and CSG mining and processing plants suggest that the benefits of burning ‘low carbon’ gases in place of coal may be grossly exaggerated. The environmental record of gas mining in the US and recent experiences in Queensland are also of great concern. Detouring on the road to a carbon neutral economy by committing to large scale production of methane will not benefit anyone except the oil and coal industries – and they won’t spoil a good bottom line by telling the truth.

    Have you ever asked yourself why it is that the coal miners and power station operators haven’t spent a little more of their own money on developing carbon capture and storage technology? After all, if they can’t establish their technology within the next ten years, the industry will have to be shut down. I suspect that their own engineers have done the modelling and discovered that it is just too inefficient, too dangerous and ultimately too expensive to develop – so they’ll continue to make CO2 while the sun shines and re-invest somewhere else.

    Unless the carbon tax process is able to take account of the whole of the pollution potential of an energy producing technology, all it will do is shift the problem, not fix it.

  5. JAMES A permalink
    February 6, 2011 10:08 pm

    Garnaut is NOT a scientist and cannot make statements as he has made I feel .

    The Scientific Facts are :

    * CO2 exists in trace quantities of 400-500ppm = 0.04 – 0.05% even with the billions of tonnes produced of CO2 from emissions around the world !!! This level is correct and has been tested and proven to be true .

    ** Most CO2 PRODUCED by coal plants and other emitters occurs at near ground level and DOES NOT GO ALL THE WAY UP IN THE UPPER ATMOSHERE !!!!

    *** Weather variations and extremes have existed for miliions of years on Earth . 20,000 years ago the sandy coastline along Australia’s east coast was under water and so the sea level has receded over this 20,000 year period .

    **** To all the people proposing Carbon capture remember this :
    1 C + O2 > CO2 ………………. If you capture the CO2 YOU WILL Starve the world of the O2 REMEMBER the Carbon and Oxygen diatomic molecule has formed the CO2 WHICH Also ==== is REQUIRED FOR PLANTS AND TREES by Photosynthesis to make O2 AND to produce Food and Crops !!!!

    ***** If you tax people of AUSTRALIA by way of Carbon Tax or ETS absolutely nothing will be achieved . Some of our prominent politicians who propose this ETS Tax are on huge yearly salaries and pensions as we ALL KNOW VERY VERY WELL !!!!! The pensionsers and low – medium income earners who are the majority will suffer and will be paying this tax for producing overall a few hundred ppm of CO2 WHICH IN FACT IS NOT A POLLUTING GAS BUT A GAS REQUIRED BY PLANTS AND TREES BY PHOTOSYNTHESIS and UV LIGHT to produce the O2 AND VEGETABLES and Plants we humans and animals need !!!

    ****** Finally the offending greenhouse gas is H20 / Water vapour of which the majority EARTHS Surface is made up of . High humidity in the air/atmosphere equates to hotter days as the heat is thereby trapped with UV Sunlight affecting the H-O-H Bonds .

    ******* We must all stand up I say and let te truth be known , the politicians and other retired fat cat specimens who are absolutely MILKING AND SUCKING the average tax payer with their huge pensions for life , economists and of course the international banks who endorse the tax will hardly be scathed . You can see now the whole Emissions Tax is a rort .

    * GROW MORE TREES : The most powerful solution to balance the “high levels of CO2 ” IN THE Atmosphere . TREE need CO2 TO BREATHE !!!!!
    * RECYCLE MORE : Reduces waste in tips etcs .
    * NO TAX : TAX will destroy families and send them to the tipping point / edge .


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