It’s not going to be cheap, easy or quick!

From today’s Wall Street Journal about a report commissioned by the Australian parliament ”as a peer review of Treasury modelling of the impacts on Australia’s economy of reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.”

”The bottom line, these studies say, is that regardless of what governments are saying, reducing economy-wide carbon emissions will almost certainly not be quick, cheap, or easy.”

”The Australian report also highlighted a flaw that also affects California’s cost-benefit accounting of its own climate policy-both are, at this point, going it alone. California‘s cost-benefit analysis of its climate bill assumes the rest of the country will implement something just as strict. Australia’s government assumes the entire world will immediately agree to a comprehensive climate accord, and never calculated what would happen to Australian industry were it to be the only country in the region with strict climate laws.”

The report is here:

http://www.aph.gov.au/Senate/committee/fuelenergy_ctte/senate_ets_report_020209_final.pdf

The article is here:

http://blogs.wsj.com/environmentalcapital/2009/02/02/green-dreams-australias-and-californias-rosy-climate-visions-come-under-attack/

February 2, 2009, 2:23 pm

Green Dreams: Australia’s and California’s Rosy Climate Visions Come Under Attack

Posted by Keith Johnson

 The global economic downturn is causing a rethink of some of the rosier projections for the true costs of battling climate change.

Australia is the latest place to question the idea that climate-change legislation will be a free lunch, or nearly so. In a report commissioned by the Australian parliament, independent consultants found that the government’s optimistic cost estimates for climate-change legislation suffer from loads of flaws, from the future cost of energy to the ease at which industries can adapt to a low-carbon future. That means that the official line could be underestimating the costs of curbing emissions and overstating its benefits.

Australia’s second-guessing mirrors similar exercises from California to Europe. A coal-dependent country with high per-capita greenhouse-gas emissions and a new convert to aggressive action on climate change, Australia’s hand-wringing holds lessons for the U.S.

Australia’s outlook-like California’s-seems to suffer from the perils of economic modeling on computers; the conclusions are only as good as the assumptions the model rests on.

Economic models tend to overlook real-world realities, the study found-like the fact that big capital investments in the power sector don’t disappear overnight, making a ”seamless” transition from a high-carbon energy mix to a low-carbon mix more difficult in the real world than on paper.

The Australian report also highlighted a flaw that also affects California’s cost-benefit accounting of its own climate policy-both are, at this point, going it alone. California‘s cost-benefit analysis of its climate bill assumes the rest of the country will implement something just as strict. Australia’s government assumes the entire world will immediately agree to a comprehensive climate accord, and never calculated what would happen to Australian industry were it to be the only country in the region with strict climate laws.

Both Australia and the U.S. projections also rely on ”clean coal” to magically become commercially viable and widespread within about 15 years, even though no clean coal plants exist today, and questions remain over the economics of clean coal even under a cap-and-trade scheme.

The bottom line, these studies say, is that regardless of what governments are saying, reducing economy-wide carbon emissions will almost certainly not be quick, cheap, or easy. Which makes an honest tallying of the costs and benefits all the more necessary to make climate policy work.

 Comments

Re: your para 6, from yesterday’s Economic Times (India):
”AHMEDABAD: The Copenhagen Climate Conference 2009, is likely to conclude on a strict regulatory regime on emissions for developed countries rather than for the developing countries, nobel laureate R K Pachauri said here today….”
.
Anyone, and I mean ANYONE who argues that India or China have any intention of slowing their economic development by even a tenth of a percentage point/annuum is either a fool, a liar or both.

Comment by Climateer – February 2, 2009 at 3:45 pm

Läs även andra bloggares åsikter om <a href=”http://bloggar.se/om/milj%F6 rel=”tag”>miljö</a> 

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4 svar to “It’s not going to be cheap, easy or quick!”

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  3. liebe Says:

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