The Garnaut report has strongly recommended fast action on climate change. This stands in contrast to usual approaches that are strong on the need for action but cautious on when that action should take place; arguing that there is value in waiting for more information and to ‘get the policy parameters’ right. It seems that, for all sorts of reasons that I won’t go into here, time has run out.
John Quiggin and I wrote a paper last year that addressed policy implementation. In it, we argued that there was no reason not to move quickly in some sectors. We singled out automotive because, even if you don’t worry about climate change, we need to get the prices right there anyway. And we also targeted electricity because grafting emissions trading onto the existing market would make sense and you would begin to get investment in a critical sector heading in the right direction, right now. After reading through the interim Garnaut report, I am more convinced than ever that we should begin tackling climate change sector by sector with policies that can be integrated at a later date.