Former adviser to Kevin Rudd, Dr Andrew Charlton is a warmist, but in many respects, makes a lot of sense.
[…]the world needs to admit that efforts to reach a legally binding global climate change treaty have failed.
Dr Charlton says the world needs to shift to a “plan B”, focusing on research to find cheap clean power that all countries will want to use.
He now sees carbon pricing, which helped cost his former boss the prime ministership, as a way to “deliver incremental reductions in rich countries’ emissions over time”.
“Carbon pricing will not, by itself, lead to the infrastructure investment and technological innovation we will need to reach our long-term targets. But this is not to say that such a scheme doesn’t have benefits,” he writes in his Quarterly Essay entitled ”Man Made World”.
“For two decades our solutions to climate change have focused on a global treaty to enforce emissions cuts and a global framework to increase the cost of fossil fuels. In Copenhagen, both of these policies failed. Poor countries would not sign a binding treaty which may compromise their ability to find a path out of poverty. And they would not accept any scheme which increases the cost of energy for their citizens … If Copenhagen taught us anything, it is that we need a new approach.”
Dr Charlton accuses the Greens of misleading their supporters when they claim Australia can source 100 per cent of its energy from renewable sources within decades, because renewable energy technology is not at present good enough to tackle climate change at a reasonable cost.
If you’re serious about reducing greenhouse emissions, then funding research into renewable energy is the best way forward. Poorer countries won’t lift a finger to reduce their emissions – and nor should they – unless they can harness cheap and efficient means to generate power. This is not currently available, but improvements in such technology could see them able to survive and propagate in the market in their own right, rather than leaching off government handouts (cough – Solyndra – cough).