Economic Advisor To Commonwealth Finds Major Fault Re Approach To Climate Chan

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1st September 2009, 06:12pm - Views: 836

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Economic Advisor to Commonwealth Finds Major Fault

with Australia’s Approach to Climate Change

Emeritus Professor Tor Hundloe was a Commissioner of the Productivity Commission (then the

Industry Commission) in 1991 when that body was commissioned by the Commonwealth Government to

investigate and report on the costs and benefits of reducing greenhouse gases.  This was nearly 20 years

before the Garnaut Report.

In Hundloe’s book “The Planet of the Thinking Animal: Surviving the 21st Century” – to be launched

by Senator Bob Brown at Readings Bookshop, Lygon St. Carlton, at 6.30pm on Wednesday, 2nd September, 

2009 – Hundloe argues that Australia will end up a second-rate (B grade) economy if it keeps spending the

profits from its coal and natural gas industries.  “If we are to keep polluting for some years we have a moral

and economic duty to compensate for that by using the profits to something for the future – rather than

living the high life now and leaving our grand-kids to develop replacement fuels”.  It is essential to follow

what economists call the Hartwick Rule.  Invest in new income and job-generating industries, in particular

renewable fuel, as Norway is doing with its oil wealth.

Australian governments of all political persuasions have developed an ideological opposition to

this.  They have an unfounded belief that “the market” will solve the problem and this after the recent

events on Wall Street.  Hundloe claims the ETS will be a disaster if Australia does not apply the Hartwick

Rule, and immediately.

In his new book, Hundloe praises Australia for many of its environmental achievements, such as the

large number of World Heritage Areas.  Hundloe was in charge of managing the Wet Tropics World

Heritage Area from 1996 to 2002.  Hundloe also applauds the Commonwealth’s environmental legislation

as it is applied to the export of Australian seafood.  Unless the fishing industry can prove it is fishing

sustainably it cannot get approval to sell its product abroad.  

On the other hand, Hundloe finds that the government’s bland acceptance of free trade  - as

opposed to fair trade – makes a mockery of how we deal with foodstuffs being imported into Australia, and

this  is leading to extensive, unnecessary greenhouse gas emissions.

Hundloe found the ridiculous case when researching his book of whiting caught at Lakes Entrance,

Victoria being shipped to Thailand for filleting and then sent all the way back to Australia supermarkets. 

“This is a trip of around 15000 kms which saves a few cents in labour costs, but for every 10 ton of fish

shipped on this round trip there is one (1) extra ton of carbon dioxide emitted.”

Another bit of economic free-trade nonsense came to light in his research.  This is the case of the

banana.  Farmers are forced to discard up to 20% of their crops because the supermarkets won’t take

singles, doubles and those with very minor blemishes.  With this quantity of good bananas going to waste

you would think there would be no need to import bananas grown in the Philippines.   Hundloe says

Australia must pay for the carbon-density of their imports, and that applies to Australian imports,

otherwise the ETS will disadvantage local producers who have to meet the costs of the ETS.

These plus many other sustainability issues will be discussed at Senator Bob Brown’s launch – and

always expect the unexpected from Bob.  

For further information contact the author (Tor Hundloe) on 0412 405 691 or Senator Bob Brown (media

contact: Peter Stahel (02 6277 3170).

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