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Published by the National Times.
The silver bullet view of carbon pricing is a common theme in Australian climate change policy debates. It is argued that by establishing domestic carbon price signals the nation will reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and address the challenge of climate change. International examples of carbon pricing initiatives are often cited in these debates. Unfortunately, incomplete accounts of them hide important lessons for policymakers at home. A recent opinion piece by Dr Peter Wood and Paul Burke of the Australian National University is no exception.
Wood and Burke present several international cases where carbon pricing is now operating, or is on the cards, to make the case that Australia is behind many nations in adopting such measures. While this contention is correct, Wood and Burke do not consider whether the carbon pricing measures adopted abroad have been effective. They do not consider the initiatives that preceded carbon pricing proposals or the fact that carbon taxes are often used to generate revenue rather than creating a price signal for the private sector.
A joint London School of Economics / University of Oxford report published today presents a new approach to post-Kyoto climate change policy. The report, How to Get Climate Policy Back on Course, coincides with this week’s G8 summit and Major Economies Forum on Energy and Climate, and calls on policy makers to abandon the failed Kyoto-style framework and instead focus directly on decarbonizing global energy systems.
The new report builds on Professor Gwyn Prins’ and Professor Steve Rayner’s influential critique of the Kyoto Protocol, The Wrong Trousers: Radically Rethinking Climate Policy, and adds further weight to calls to scrap Kyoto.