G20 should facilitate international cooperation on climate change

Environmentalists from Poland and Europe participate in the March for Climate and Social Justice in Warsaw, Poland. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne

The time is right to place climate change at centre stage of the 2014 G20 leaders-group meeting in Australia. The G20 has a record of leadership on the international climate change agenda. With the world working toward a critical meeting of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) in Paris in December 2015, a firm position articulated by G20 leaders in Brisbane in November would be in time to influence the Lima UNFCCC meeting in December 2014. Read more…

Dog days for Australia after the boom

Ross Garnaut speaks at launch of his new book - Dog Days, Australia after the Boom - with Australian Communications Minister Malcolm Turnbull at the National Press Club in Canberra, 15 November, 2013. (Photo: AAP).

Author: Ross Garnaut, University of Melbourne

Australia is enjoying its 22nd year of economic growth without recession — an experience that is unprecedented in any other developed country. For the first decade of expansion, growth was based on extraordinary increases in productivity, attributable to productivity-raising reforms from 1983. In the early years of this century, reform and productivity growth slowed sharply and then stopped. Read more…

China’s contribution to the global mitigation effort

Chinese workers check arrays of solar panels on the rooftop of an enterprises building in Ningguo, east Chinas Anhui province, 23 April 2013.

Author: Ross Garnaut, ANU, University of Melbourne

As the Chinese National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) observed in its first survey of Chinese climate change policies in November 2012, ‘China is one of the countries most vulnerable to the adverse impact of climate change’.

This is one reason why it should come as no surprise that China has taken decisive action in recent years towards a more environmentally sustainable growth model. Read more…

Climate change: Where are we at globally now?

Members of environmentalist groups participate in a protest march march in Cancun, Mexico, on 07 December 2010, during the XVI United Nations Climate Change Conference. (Photo: AAP)

Author: Ross Garnaut, ANU and University of Melbourne

Human induced climate change is a global problem and an effective solution requires large mitigation contributions from all major developed and developing countries, and from the rest of the world too.

The search for effective climate change policy is partly a search for effective cooperation amongst countries of a kind and dimension that has never previously been known on a global scale. Read more…

The turning period in Chinese development

In this Tuesday, July 13, 2010 photo released by China's Xinhua News Agency, college graduates attend a job fair in Haikou, capital of south China's Hainan Province. (Photo: Xinhua/Guo Cheng)

Author: Ross Garnaut, ANU and Melbourne University

What are the implications of the turning period for China’s continuing economic development, for China’s interaction with the global economy and for economic policy? Here I focus on four of the most important consequences, mention a consequence that is widely anticipated and feared, but which need not eventuate, and briefly discuss one way in which perceptions of China’s growth will be affected by its having entered the turning period.

As China enters deeply into the turning period (when unlimited supplies of labour become more difficult to mobilise for industrial development), there will be large and continuing increases in real wages and in the wage share of income. Read more…

One year after the Garnaut Climate Change Review

Profesor Ross Garnaut (photo: AAP: Dave Hunt)

Author: Ross Garnaut

One year has passed since I released the final draft of the Climate Change Review. In the lead-up to Copenhagen, this is a timely opportunity to reflect on developments in the consideration of this diabolical policy problem and where it is all going now.

It’s relevant that my final report was presented to the Australian Prime Minister on the morning of the biggest ever points fall on the New York Stock Exchange. The discussion of the review has been against the back drop of the Great Crash of 2008 and the recession which followed.

Read more…

Ross Garnaut at the Australia-China Climate Change Forum

Professor Ross Garnaut

Author: Ross Garnaut

Australia and China share a great vulnerability to climate change. Australia is already hot and dry, and agriculture is conducted with precipitation levels.

With unmitigated climate change, Australia would dry and warm further, endangering agriculture and other human activity. China would likely see decreased flows in the Yangtze and Yellow Rivers. Rising sea levels associated with climate change would also place China’s vital coastal provinces at serious risk.

Yet against this backdrop, there is considerable room for strategic initiative to be taken. For the full address, please see the videos below.

Read more…

Oiling the squeaks

Author: Ross Garnaut

In the course of the work on climate change, members of the Garnaut climate change review team would sometimes ask how we would judge whether our efforts had been successful. Would the main indicator be the extent to which the Australian Government accepted the recommendations of our final report?

‘No,’ I would respond.

‘Policy decisions will reflect a range of pressures and constraints which we are not in a position now to assess and about which the Government is elected to form judgments. We will have done our job if the Australian community and Australian governments understand the implications of decisions that are taken.’

Whatever pressures and constraints shaped the Government’s white paper this week, it has implications for the environment and the economy. Should its policy proposals become law, they will be historic.

Read more…

Chinese Growth and the Financial Crisis

Author: Ross Garnaut

China is in a better position to sustain growth through large-scale fiscal expansion during the current crisis than it was at an equivalent stage of the Asian financial crisis. Its current account surplus and foreign exchange reserves are incomparably larger. And the successful Keynesian response of the Asian financial crisis gives all participants in the process confidence that it can be done again. Extensive discussion of the need to expand expenditure on rural development over the past three years has established a foundation for fiscal expansion without wasting resources.

But China will need all these advantages if it is to maintain strong growth through the current crisis. Read more…