World moving irreversibly toward climate change action, says report | Connect Asia

World moving irreversibly toward climate change action, says report

World moving irreversibly toward climate change action, says report

Updated 21 August 2012, 14:05 AEST

Australia's Climate Commission has released its third major report and it says international efforts to tackle climate change are accelerating rapidly.

The report says nearly 850 million people will soon be living in economies with a carbon price or similar arrangement and the commissioners say they're surprised at how quickly change is coming.

Correspondent: Conor Duffy

Speaker: Tim Flannery, Australia's Chief Climate Commissioner; Roger Beale, Australian Climate Change Commission

CONOR DUFFY: Australia has retained its gold medal position as the developed world's biggest per capita carbon emitter. Commissioner Roger Beale who is also an economist says Australians have a significant lead over other countries.

ROGER BEALE: We're the biggest emitters per capita by quite a way. We're ahead of the US.

CONOR DUFFY: Overall the Climate Commission says Australia is the world's 15th biggest emitter and the commission's report is focused on what's happening globally.

Chief commissioner professor Tim Flannery says he's surprised by how fast the world is moving to rein in those emissions.

TIM FLANNERY: It's the beginning I think of an irreversible shift. We are moving towards a clean energy future. We may not be moving fast enough but this report confirms to me at least that very clearly the world is moving and it's an irreversible change.

CONOR DUFFY: Professor Flannery says that by next year carbon taxes and similar schemes will be widely used around the world.

TIM FLANNERY: There's about 33 countries around the world with some sort of carbon price in place now, covering about 850 million people. That's you know almost one in seven people on the planet. It's what the economists tell us is a very cost effective way of dealing with the problems.

CONOR DUFFY: Commissioner Beale refused to comment on Opposition criticisms that the Government's carbon tax was a much bigger impost than overseas schemes and would disadvantage Australian businesses.

ROGER BEALE: We're not a political body. I don't want to comment about what any party says. I will say though that Australia is one of 33 countries with a carbon tax or carbon price.

CONOR DUFFY: The report also says that renewable energy prices are falling and countries like China and Germany are investing heavily. The commissioners say Australia should do the same or risk falling behind.

Chief climate commissioner Tim Flannery has come under intense criticism in recent months for a number of incorrect predictions. He says the attacks on his credibility haven't interfered with his job of communicating climate change.

TIM FLANNERY: I think that people are always trying to distract. You know, there's certain lobbyists who are always trying to distract people and one way they do it is play the man and not the ball, you know, don't deal with the facts but deal with other issues.

But we've come through that. And I think that increasingly Australians are hearing the facts on climate change and the Climate Commission's been an important part of that.

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