Understanding Climate Risk

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Posts Tagged ‘coal exports

Revkin on Australia’s coal exports: the elephant in the national climate policy room

with 7 comments

Andrew Revkin of Dot Earth has contacted a few researchers on both sides of the big pond to comment on what Australia’s national carbon management legislation might mean for the US. The overall view was that Australia’s current situation is affected by our political context, limiting its ability to translate to the US situation, but that the effectiveness of the legislation was definitely improved by the committee process that resulted from the last federal election. He returned last week to ask the question: I find it hard to believe that anyone who cares about GLOBAL greenhouse gas emissions /concentrations could cheer the (Australian) law, and – if so – I’d have to ask why? The motivation for this question was Australia’s coal exports, which are largely untouched by the legislation (a fact, widely touted as a good thing for the economy).

This is a really interesting and difficult question and garnered a range of comments that reveal substantial disagreements between experts. Read all the responses on Dot Earth. I’m torn by this question because I:

  1. Do cheer the legislation for what it can potentially achieve, and
  2. Don’t think it does much for rising international emissions due to the economic boom. The boom has accelerated growth in coal-generated carbon emissions since 2000, mainly growth in China, and affects emission projections out to 2020 and beyond as India and other countries join in.

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Written by Roger Jones

November 19, 2011 at 4:21 pm