Garnaut cringes from clear call to action

September 30 2008

Climate group Rising Tide has reacted angrily to the release of the final report by the Garnaut Review this morning, where the Government’s key climate advisor has failed to recommend a greenhouse pollution reduction goal that will save the Great Barrier Reef.

The report release comes the morning after Rising Tide met with Prime Minister Kevin Rudd at the Community Cabinet meeting in Newcastle last night.

Rudd had been challenged during the meeting about Government’s reliance on the dubious hope of “clean coal” when it should be getting down to the business of reducing greenhouse pollution.

Professor Garnaut admitted in the report today that “On a balance of probabilities, the failure of our generation on climate change mitigation would lead to consequences that would haunt humanity until the end of time.”

Rising Tide said, “Despite his clear understanding of the irreparable consequences of weak action on climate change, Professor Garnaut has refrained from making a clear or adequate recommendation. This is no time for such hesitancy.”  

“At a time when Australia should be responding to climate change with the scale and urgency of a war effort, Professor Garnaut is advising caution and hesitation. Both of the atmospheric carbon targets he canvasses would result in massive social dislocation and extinction of species and ecosystems, but he can't even bring himself to recommend the lesser of two evils.

“We are stunned and angry that our Government and its climate advisors appear willing to kill the Great Barrier Reef, willing to commit perhaps a third of all of the species on this planet to extinction, and to subject Australians to a series of environmental catastrophes – droughts, storms, floods and disease outbreaks.”

“Partial solutions to this problem are not an option. We have fourteen months until the crucial Copenhagen climate talks in December next year. We must start reducing emissions now. Once we fail, we will have failed forever. We will not be able to bring back the Great Barrier Reef, lost species, the pacific islands, the Kakadu wetlands.”  

Rising Tide says the Government’s and Professor Garnaut’s reliance on clean coal, is a fatal trap. Garnaut admits that “The future for coal-based electricity generation, for coal exports and for mitigation in developing Asia depends on carbon capture and storage becoming commercially effective.” But such techology will not be available in the time frame required for pollution control.

Rising Tide said, “It is just not possible that this technology can help us reduce emissions now and in the next five years. We are yet to hear a promise that there will be no more coal-fired power stations built until this technology is available.”


Further comment: Steve Phillips 0437 275 119

Rising Tide acknowledges the indigenous peoples on whose lands we live and work.

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