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Green Blog posted a article in Global WarmingNew research shows that our existing economic models “grossly underestimate” the costs of climate change. As a result, current carbon prices are 10 to 20 times lower than they need to be to stop catastrophic climate change. The shocking (but somewhat not surprising) findings are presented in a new study by leading climate economist Nicholas Stern and co-author Simon Dietz, from the UK’s Grantham Research Institute. According to their research we need a globally coordinated carbon price of $32 to $103 per tonne of emissions, as early as next year. And within two decades the price need to almost triple and rise to $82-260 per tonne of carbon emissions. Current carbon prices are much, much lower than this. In the European Union, a tonne of carbon emissions costs €5.7 or about $7.7. In California a tonne of carbon emissions - despite having one of the world’s highest carbon price - only costs around $12. The report, which will be published in the Economic Journal, came to this conclusion after reviewing the DICE-model, a widely-used economic model developed by Yale Professor Bill Nordhaus in 1991. This model by Nordhaus has served as a basis for other major climate studies – such as the recent IPCC report. The problem though is that the DICE-model is based on data of the climate impacts we had knowledge about in the 90s. But nowadays, that data is old as we now know that the climate impacts are much worse than we previously expected. Unfortunately, the usage of this old model has led to a severe underestimation of the taxes and fees required. “It is extremely important to understand the severe limitations of standard economic models, such as those cited in the IPCC report, which have made assumptions that simply do not reflect current knowledge about climate change and its [...] impacts on the economy,” Stern said. The revised economic model by Stern and Dietz takes into account new and updated climate data. It also calculates that the ability to generate new wealth would be affected by climate change – due to climate impacts such as extreme weather, destruction of coastal and water infrastructure, and so on. “The new version of this standard economic model, for instance, suggests that the risks from climate change are bigger than portrayed by previous economic models and therefore strengthens the case for strong cuts in emissions of greenhouse gases,” Dietz said.
Simon Leufstedt posted a article in Business & PoliticsJust weeks after being elected as Australia’s new Prime Minister, Tony Abbott has started his war against science and climate. Abbott, who have said that climate change "is absolute crap", has already dismantled the country’s climate commission and is now set to repeal the carbon tax that was introduced in 2011 by the former left-leaning government. The first victim of Abbott’s anti-science and anti-climate campaign was the country’s Climate Commission. The commission was established in 2011 with the goal to independently inform and communicate the dangers of climate change to the Australian public. The most recent report from the commission, titled The Critical Decade, warned that the world needs to essentially “decarbonise in the next 30 to 35 years” in order to avoid serious consequences from global. This means, as the report noted, that Australia would have to keep most of its fossil fuels in the ground. Abbott and his new conservative government estimates that the closure of the Climate Commission will save taxpayers $1.6 million a year, reduce bureaucracy. The government has also promised that the Department of Environment will instead continue with informing the public about climate change. But considering that Australia is the world’s biggest coal exporter, it’s not that hard to figure out the real reason to why Abbott wanted to shut down the independent commission. Christine Milne, opposition leader for the Greens in Australia, has said the decision shows Abbott’s "contempt for climate science and for the health and wellbeing of future generations." "Shooting the messenger does not alter the fact that Australia has to do a lot better than 5% in order to contribute fairly to the global challenge of constraining global warming to two degrees," Milne said to the Guardian. "Prime Minister Abbott has distinguished himself as one of the only leaders of a western democracy to deny the severity of global warming and to actively undermine infrastructure which is bringing down emissions." But the Climate Commission is not the only target for Abbott. Other bodies that are in the risk of being stripped of its funding are the Climate Change Authority, which provides independent advice on emissions reduction targets, and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, a renewable loan institute. It’s now painfully clear that, despite promises of the contrary, Abbott has no intentions of doing anything meaningful against the climate crisis. Mark Dreyfus, former parliamentary secretary for climate change and energy efficiency in Australia, writes on the Guardian that: “Abbott now seems determined to ensure that good policies implemented over the past six years by Labor are torn down as fast as possible, regardless of their economic merit, regardless of the negative impact this might have on the jobs and businesses that have been created…” Just a couple of days ago, Abbott did what he promised in his election campaign: he introduced a repeal bill to the Australian parliament that will scrap the country’s controversial carbon tax. "This is our bill to reduce your bills, to reduce the bills of the people of Australia," Abbott proclaimed. But critics say that Abbott is doing just the opposite. Adam Bandt, from the Greens in Australia, writes that "there’s nothing new about conservatives slowing down the pace of reform, offering paternal protection and preserving the status quo." But "global warming is already damaging the health and the way of life of ordinary Australians and unless we act those threats will become catastrophic. [...] If our prime minister truly wants to protect the Australian people, he must help fend off dangerous global warming, the country’s biggest ever threat." Abbott has campaigned with the promise of getting Australia back on track. But in reality he is moving Australia backwards. Photo credit: DonkeyHotey (cc).