Economic Analysis of Combating Climate Change in Australia

At this year’s international climate change meeting in Bali, Indonesia, The Climate Institute released a comprehensive economic analysis that shows Australia can afford to join leading countries in avoiding dangerous climate change.

“This report shows that decisive Australian leadership in cutting greenhouse pollution is affordable at home, a prudent investment in positioning Australia at the forefront of efforts to avoid dangerous global warming and avoids the economic risks associated with playing catch up in the emerging global clean energy economy,” said John Connor, Chief Executive of The Climate Institute.

The report, written by policy experts from CSIRO, The Climate Institute, Monash University and McLennan Magasanik Associates, examined the relative costs of Australia not doing anything to avoid climate change versus the country taking a leadership position by going carbon neutral by 2050. The analysis didn’t factor in the climate change impact costs of inaction, which The Stern Review estimated to be between 5-20% of global economic activity in 2100.

The report shows that if Australia reversed its rising pollution by 2012, reduced emissions by 20% by 2020 and became carbon neutral by 2050, economic activity would increase by $2 trillion over the next 40 years. In addition, employment opportunities would rise from 9.7 million jobs to 16.7 million jobs by 2050, according to the report’s projections.

The report concludes that, “making very substantial reductions in Australia’s net greenhouse emissions is affordable, and compatible with continuing growth in incomes, employment and living standards.”
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