Monday, September 29, 2008

Global emissions agreement essential: Garnaut

By Online parliamentary correspondent Emma Rodgers

ABC News Online, Posted 18 minutes ago
Updated 9 minutes ago

The Federal Government's climate change adviser Professor Ross Garnaut says a global agreement must be reached to successfully reduce the world's carbon emissions and has urged action without delay.

Professor Garnaut today released his final report into climate change in which he outlined the steps Australia should take to reduce its emissions while maintaining economic growth.

But he has stuck by his recommendation - which has been criticised by scientists and environment groups for being too soft - that Australia reduce its emissions by 10 per cent of 2000 levels by 2020.

However, he says Australia should be open to an agreement on a deeper cut of 25 per cent if there was a global consensus.

Professor Garnaut says the success of a global agreement relies on setting realistic targets that can be met while still allowing for economic growth in developed and undeveloped countries.

The 10 per cent target has been modelled on an international agreement on capping global concentrations of carbon in the atmosphere at 550 parts per million (ppm).

Professor Garnaut believes the chance of an effective agreement based on 550ppm is a step towards an agreement for a tougher cut of 25 per cent.

"It would also support the beginnings of international cooperation of emissions reduction and the development and transfer of low emissions technologies," he said.

"It would therefore be a path towards a subsequent agreement with more ambitious mitigation objectives."

Scientists and green groups were urging a 25 per cent cut in emissions by 2020, which would set global emissions at 450ppm.

The next global agreement, due to begin in 2013, will be discussed in Copenhagen next year.

Professor Garnaut says the country can make the transition to a low emissions economy by looking at other energy options such as geothermal, wind and solar power.

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