Garnaut strikes right balance

Sydney, 5 September 2008

Professor Ross Garnaut has struck the right balance between ensuring that Australia plays its full part in the international effort to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions and ensuring that Australia does not embark on an economically damaging course that would have little if any impact on climate change.

Nicholas Scofield, General Manager Corporate Affairs, said "Professor Garnaut has correctly recognised that only comprehensive international action on greenhouse gas emission reductions can achieve the desired outcome of limiting increases in global temperatures and the resulting damaging effects of climate change".

"Everyone agrees that Australia should play its full part in the international effort to reduce greenhouse emissions as far and as fast as possible. However, Professor Garnaut has also recognised that obtaining international agreement to economically damaging reduction targets will not be possible, and that countries that approach international negotiations with inflexible and overly ambitious targets will only help reduce the likelihood of the successful completion of a comprehensive post-Kyoto emissions reduction agreement in which developing countries play a necessary and appropriate role."

"Professor Garnaut's proposal for a 10% reduction in emissions by 2020 off a year 2000 base as part of an international agreement is achievable but still challenging. While a 10% target looks low on the face of it, it represents a reduction in Australia's per capita emissions of 30%, taking into account population growth and the fact that Australia is obviously already well above its year 2000 emissions levels. Australia should not underestimate the economic challenge that such a reduction in per capita emissions represents."

"In the absence of an international agreement to reduce emissions, Professor Garnaut's proposed target of a 5% reduction in emissions by 2020 would still require a per capita reduction in emissions of 25%, which would still be a significant challenge. But in the absence of an international emissions reduction agreement, this target strikes the right balance between making a real start on the path to a low carbon economy while ensuring that Australia does not embark on an economically damaging path that would achieve next to no environmental benefit.

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Nicholas Scofield
Allianz Australia
Ph. 02-9390 6596
0416 088 414

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