Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:48 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 20:48 | SYDNEY

Climate change face off


Fergus Hanson


3 July 2008 11:59

Today and tomorrow look out for the battle of ideas taking place over Australian climate change policy. At 12.30 today, the Lowy Institute's Warwick McKibbin will be delivering an important speech at the ANU setting out his proposals for responding to climate change. His talk comes a day before a draft of the government-commissioned climate review by Ross Garnaut is released. As Warwick points out in an article today, he and Garnaut have different ideas about how to address climate change. For a range of reasons, Warwick opposes an EU-style cap and trade model, while Garnaut has publically opposed Warwick's proposal that is under consideration by a number of other governments.

As Lowy opinion polling has shown, 75 per cent of Australians see tackling climate change as a 'very important' foreign policy goal: ahead of combating international terrorism and preventing nuclear proliferation. It ranks highest on a list of potential threats, and 68 per cent of Australians agree with the proposition that 'global warming is a serious and pressing problem. We should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs'. Yet, as unhappiness with rising petrol prices demonstrates, taxing carbon isn't going to be easy.

It's hard to imagine the government having to make a more difficult decision while in office than the one it currently faces over how to address climate change. It's good to know there's more than one serious option on the table.