#ESOC2014 Why even skeptics should embrace action on climate change

I’m venturing out of the house today, to bring you the blog from the glamorous surrounds of the Grand Hyatt, where the annual Melbourne Institute Economic and Social Outlook conference is taking place.

Say what you will about the state of our nation, but the fact we can gather all these eggheads into such an opulent ballroom to ponder on the distant future suggests that things are not so bad, relatively to many other places and points in history. (I will note that I had to pass a phalanx of police to get inside though.)

The biggest point of interest for me so far today was a comment from renowned contrarian economist Warwick McKibbin.

He was talking about the policy outlook for climate change, and he made a strong case for action. “Even if you don’t believe in climate change, other countries are acting,” he said, citing research done for the Howard Government at the time of the Kyoto Protocol.

“If you look at global effect of the Kyoto Protocol on Australia, 80 per cent of its costs were in what other countries did to our exports.” he said.

“That was ignored,” McKibbin said. “Even if we think this is a myth, other countries are taking action and that will have an impact.”

With the carbon tax all but gone and the Renewable Energy Target at risk, the costs of an approach that see Australia out of step with the rest of the world deserve more attention.

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Thomas the Think Engine is the blog of a trained economist. It comes to you from Melbourne Australia.

One thought on “#ESOC2014 Why even skeptics should embrace action on climate change”

  1. We are about 10-15 years past when people could reasonably keep holding a skeptical “lets wait and see” position. To maintain it now is just a tiresome tribal allegiance and any attempt to engage with them – particularly with facts is just going to reinforce the depth of the allegiance. Time to stop bothering with them and get on with it.
    It’s interesting that Abbott is indulging so much in pandering to his small tribal base – it’s no longer a useful tactic and is looking more like a unmanageable habit. It’s certain to backfire and probably within a year or two.


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