The Garnaut Review – Draft Report Release

In November 2007 the Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, commissioned Professor Ross Garnaut to examine the impacts, challenges and opportunities of climate change for Australia.

On Monday 4 July 2008 Professor Garnaut released the draft report of his review.  The draft report is the first of three steps in releasing the Review’s perspective on Australia’s climate change policy options, including the early findings of modeling work.  Professor Garnaut will release a supplementary draft report in August that will contain the result of economic modeling and the important issues of adaptation.  The final report of the Climate Change Review will be released in September.

Public forums on the draft report will be held in a number of capital cities across Australia from 7 to 11 July 2008. You can register your interest to participate in these forums here.

The report

In his review, Professor Garnaut received almost 4000 submissions on a wide range of topics and consulted with a number of experts on subjects from climate change science to adaptation and innovation.  Garnaut also worked with the Australian Treasury on ascertaining the costs of various degrees of Australian mitigation. This modeling is due for release in August.

The release today of the draft report is the first overarching assessment of the likely anticipated impact of climate change on the Australian economy.  It is the first attempt at assessing what we can do to adapt to climate change, including the fairest way to spread costs of adapting to change across the economy.

The report notes that climate change is happening much faster than initially understood when former World Bank chief economist Nicholas Stern and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released their warnings in 2006 and 2007.

In April this year, Professor Garnaut co-wrote an academic paper that found that by 2030, greenhouse emissions are expected to be 14 per cent worse than the IPPC provided as its worse case scenario last year. Today’s report confirms this.

The draft report does not present the results of modeling the costs and potential benefits of climate change.  However, it does provide the first public exposure of aspects of the Garnaut-Treasury and Garnaut Review approach on the modeling, and provides some detail as to the high-level results generated by the modeling.  Subsequent economy-wide quantitative analysis will be built around this analysis, with the results being released in the supplementary draft report.
Garnaut’s findings:

Today’s draft report contains a number of findings, including:

By 2050, unmitigated climate change on middle of the road outcomes would mean major declines in agricultural production across much of the country, including a 50 per cent reduction in irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin. By 2100, irrigated agriculture in the Murray Darling Basin would decline by 92 per cent.

  • Early economic modelling results of readily measurable unmitigated climate change for middle of the road outcomes on temperatures and decline in rainfall – indicate that climate change would wipe off approximately 4.8 per cent of Australia’s projected GDP, around 5.4 per cent of projected household consumption, and 7.8 per cent from real wages by 2100.
  • Australia needs to play its full part in the international effort of global mitigation, because Australia would hurt more than other developed countries by unmitigated climate change.
  • Taking small actions that create an appearance of action but do not solve the problem are dangerous and that such an approach risks the integrity of Australia’s market economy.

In addition, the draft report:

  • Supports Australia’s Emissions Trading Scheme (ETS) to cover as many sectors as practicable.  The report indicates the more sectors included in the ETS, the more efficiently costs can be shared across the economy.  The Report also indicates that transport should be included.
  • Advocates the full auctioning of emissions permits and the return of all revenue to households and business, to compensate consumers for the rising energy and petrol prices.
  • Proposes that half the proceeds from the sale of all permits is allocated to households, around 30 per cent provided for structural adjustment needs for business (including any payments to trade exposed energy intensive industries), and the remaining 20 per cent allocated to research and development, and the commercialisation of new technologies.
  • Recommends that it would be in Australia’s interest to find out as soon as possible whether a low-emissions future for coal is feasible, and to support rapid deployment of commercially promising technologies. This follows from Australia’s role as the world’s largest exporter of coal and the central place of coal in growth in emissions from Asian developing countries.
  • Supports the phase-out of the Mandatory Renewable Energy Target, once the ETS is fully operational.

Key Climate Change events: July 2008-June 2009:

Key dates Measures aimed at reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions Measures aimed at adapting to the impacts of  climate change we cannot avoid Measures aimed at helping Australia shape a global solution
July 08
  • National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Act 2007 reporting period commences (1/7)
  • Garnaut Review releases draft report (4/7)
  • Emissions Trading Scheme Green Paper released.
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change expert review team submits draft report (18/7)
  • Wilkins’ Strategic Review of Climate Change Programs released (31/7)
  • National Energy Security Assessment released (no date specified)
  • Submissions due for COAG RET Working Group
  • Garnaut Review releases draft report (4/7)
  • United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change expert review team submits draft report (18/7)
  • Wilkins’ Strategic Review of Climate Change Programs released (31/7)
  • Garnaut Review releases draft report (4/7)
  • G8 leaders meeting (7-9/7)
  • Wilkins’ Strategic Review of Climate Change Programs released (31/7)
August 08
  • Treasury Garnaut Modelling released (no date specified)
  • Australia-NZ Climate Change and Business Conference (18-20/8)
  • UN Climate Change talks in Ghana including discussion of treatment of agriculture and forestry emissions (Senior Officials) (21-27/8)
  • Kyoto Protocol examined by Joint Standing Committee on Treaties (date to be confirmed)
  • Australia – Indonesia Ministerial Forum (no date specified)
September 08
  • Garnaut Review releases final report
  • Greenhouse and Energy Data Office established
  • Garnaut Review releases final report
  • Launch of Guidelines and call for applications for the $1 billion National Urban Water and Desalination Plan
  • Garnaut Review releases final report
  • Launch of National Registry and National Authority established under Kyoto Protocol
October 08
  • COAG to finalise MRET design and agree to framework for nationally consistent climate change measures
  • COAG to finalise/announce water reform measures and agree framework for nationally consistent climate change measures.
  • National Adaptation Policy Framework to COAG
  • Pre-Conference of Parties informal Ministerial dialogue on climate change in Poland (12-14/10)
  • Australia-China Ministerial dialogue on climate change
November 08
December 08
  • National framework agreed
  • Exposure draft of ETS released
  • Medium-term emissions trajectory released
  • Australia’s emission ‘projections’ released
  • Final response to ‘2020 Summit’ proposals released
  • National framework agreed
  • Council of Parties in Poland (1-12/12)
January 09
February 09
March 09
  • ETS legislation introduced to Parliament
  • National Coastal Vulnerability Forum (date to be specified)
  • Anticipated UN climate change talks (Senior Officials).
April 09
May 09
June 09
  • ETS legislation scheduled to be passed by Parliament
  • First mandatory emissions reports due to be completed.
  • Jurisdictions due to have implemented streamlining recommendations.
  • Likely UN climate change talks in Germany (Senior Officials only)


For a copy of the full report, see: