Monday, November 24, 2008

Climate change - Obama's problems and the Garnaut prescription

Over at the East Asia Forum blog two useful articles on climate change:

Frank Jotzo looks at Barack Obama's climate change problems.  He argues that the double bottom line argument for US pursuing an active mitigation stance (improving global climate, reducing US dependence on imported oil) has become a triple bottom line case given the current financial crisis because the investments required can held driver a revival of the US (and world) economies.  He argues that a model for encouraging co-operation between the super emitters (US, China, India) might lie in the prescriptions of the Garnaut Review with its advocated equal per capita emissions targets by 2050.  Broadly I agree. Increased taxes on US imported oil use could be motivated by the vast costs of stabilising the Middle East to ensure supply.  Moreover, the weak case for emphasising capital intensive expansion strategies in the face of a likely long world recession - the move won't directly target employment - is bolstered by the by the double bottom line arguments cited.

Shiro Armstrong writes a piece defending the Garnaut conditional targets that despite some earlier reservations I support.  I agree with Armstrong that Garnaut has received an unfair press - including initially from me - Garnaut is focusing on what is realistically achievable. Tightened targets - which many in the Green movement support - can be negotiated once weaker targets (that will, in themselves, be difficult to negotiate) are agreed to.  The Garnaut Review has provided a useful input into the UN discussions of a post-Kyoto treaty in Copenhagen in 2009.

The East Asia Forum is a blog well worth bookmarking.