Projecting the cost impact of climate change action
Dr Steve Hatfield-Dodds writes that making a 60 per cent cut to national emissions by 2050 is consistent with significant improvements in living standards and ongoing economic growth.
The CSIRO researcher cites economic modelling carried out for the Australian Business Roundtable for Climate Change to counter the popular myth that action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions would result in economic disaster.
“The headline economic result is that with early policy action, GDP would grow at 2.1 per cent per annum, rather than 2.2 per cent per annum without further action,” writes Dr Hatfield-Dodds.
A key assumption of the economic model is that emissions reductions will be driven by a carbon trading scheme. This effectively decouples greenhouse emissions from economic growth, and would raise significant revenue that could be used to reduce taxes in Australia.
“The modelling suggests that early action to reduce emissions is consistent with strong real GDP growth and substantial increases in living standards, while impacts on energy prices and equity issues are likely to be manageable,” Dr Hatfield-Dodds concludes.
Other stories in Ecos Issue 134 include:
The Gore factor: Ecos examines the impact of Al Gore’s recent film, An Inconvenient Truth, on popular opinion in Australia. A Lowy Institute poll carried out less than three weeks after the film’s Australian release found that global warming had become a bigger concern for most Australians than terrorism and economic growth.
Saving the life of farmland soils: Healthy soils are vital for good plant nutrition and improved water holding capacity, yet essential organic matter in our soils is being depleted by land clearing and cropping. One emerging solution is recycling urban green waste as compost to replenish farmland soils.
Wisdom from the heart of India: For centuries, the people of India’s remote Patalkot Valley have enjoyed a sustainable lifestyle in which plants have played a central role in their spiritual beliefs. Now, warns an Indian ethno-botanist, their unique knowledge and culture is under threat from external influence, including pharmaceutical companies that are cashing in on herbal ‘treasures’.
Foreign problems in the desert landscape: In the Northern Territory, the growing problem of introduced ornamental plants becoming invasive weeds is made worse by a climate and urban culture that supports ‘poinciana power’.
Growing seaweed in inland Victoria: Researchers have worked with a local Landcare group to find a way of using Wimmera’s saline groundwater for growing seaweed commercially.
Solar-powered desalination: Plans have been announced for Australia’s first solar-powered desalination plant that will combine solar energy-based power generation, desalination and commercial salt production into a single complex.
Biodegradable nappies: Australians send about one billion disposable nappies to landfill every year. A Perth inventor and mother has developed the world’s first fully biodegradable disposable nappy that will break down in six months, compared to the 300 years required for conventional disposable nappies.
ECOS MAGAZINE – Issue 134, 2006/7 – can be downloaded at Ecos online.
Ecos is a bimonthly colour publication covering sustainability issues relevant to Australia and the Asia-Pacific region. Available at major national newsagents or online.
- The latest issue of Ecos magazine shows how cutting greenhouse gas emissions through targeted policy action will not adversely affect Australian living standards
- Ecos also examines the impact of Mr Al Gore’s recent film, An Inconvenient Truth, on popular opinion in Australia, and looks at how we can ‘save the life’ of Australia’s farmland soils
- Other stories include the threat of ‘biopiracy’ to an ancient Indian herbal culture; the growing problem of exotic weeds at the Top End and biodegradable nappies that decompose within six months, compared to the 300 years required for conventional disposable nappies