26 March 2011

Where are we headed?

Climate Interactive Scoreboard

How much will our climate warm with the current levels of commitment to action by governments? The scoreboard from Climate Interactive tracks all the firm mitigation commitments from governments around the world, and then compares the result with both "business as usual" (no action) and a 1.5C goal.

The result - around 4 degrees Celsius of warming by 2100 - is:
* analysed in our post Where are we headed? and
* in more detail in the Climate Centre primer "4 degrees hotter".
Also check What would 3 degrees mean?

13 March 2011

The Long View: communicating the science honestly

First published in Crikey on 9 March 2011

It’s the Gillard versus Abbott drawcard event. The debate over carbon price legislation is a decisive battle in Australia’s climate policy war. Lines have been drawn; only one contestant will survive.

If Labor goes down, so do the prospects of further action. The Greens would be badly battered and Australia would remain a polluters’ paradise. But if legislation establishes an effective carbon price relatively free of rorts, all will be well. Or will it?

Given the centrality of scientific research to understanding the impacts of global warning, and Australians’ recent experience of extreme weather events, it is startling that this debate has been cast almost exclusively in economic terms.

For the major players, including environment NGOs, it’s about a big new tax or pricing pollution, utility prices and compensation, employment impacts and clean jobs, investment and business certainty. Reduced to a slanging match between Tea Party Tony fanning fear about power bills, and the government rationalising that a carbon price will bring investment certainty to the electricity sector and keep bills lower, Abbott will likely win. It suits a Coalition wanting to avoid focus on the science of global warming, on which there is sharp disagreement within both conservative parties.