Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:07 | SYDNEY
Wednesday 06 Oct 2021 | 21:07 | SYDNEY

Emissions targets alone are counter-productive


Warwick McKibbin

8 July 2008 11:55

The Garnaut review, based on targets and timetables for emission reduction, will delay action on climate change at the global level. Most of the world has no clear policy framework, and most countries are not taking on targets and timetables because they don't want to commit to a system without knowing the cost. Some countries that have taken targets (Japan, NZ, Canada) are not even close to hitting them because domestic politics is blocking action. Only the Europeans have a wide ranging ETS and it is full of holes and exemptions for political reasons.

Wishful thinking will not solve this problem but it will, and has, delayed action. Emissions are at the high end of the most pessimistic projections. We have had Kyoto for 11 years and we are in the first year of the binding period with no chance of hitting the Kyoto targets on average between 2008-2012. That is why there is so much debate about what to do post-2012. This is pretty strong evidence that we need to modify the approach in important ways and not promote a position in Australia that will actually delay action globally.

A better way is to have clear long term goals priced in transparent domestic markets and fixed short term carbon prices equal (where possible) across countries. The McKibbin Wilcoxen Hybrid  is a way to break the national and global political log jam because it deals with climate policy in the same way countries now run monetary policy (but with a different time frame).