Monday, April 08, 2019

What about the Climate Change Authority?

Alan Kohler in the Oz has written a piece that concludes:

It seems to me the best way to achieve that, given the apparent seriousness of the situation, would be an independent body, a bit like an expert, permanent royal commission, made up of a cross-section of scientists, statisticians and economists, to pull together the data and advise the government. 

It can’t be left to the Environment Department, the CSIRO or the Bureau of Meteorology because they are either not independent or not broad enough, although they should be represented on it of course. 

The aim would not be to try to convince people like Barnaby Joyce, Angus Taylor, Maurice Newman and Terry McCrann, or catastrophists at the other end of the spectrum, but to come up with the most likely impact of global warming on Australia and a set of recommendations and costings for dealing with it and to do it publicly.

He links to a website called Climate Change in Australia run by the aforementioned bodies.

What he seems to have forgotten is that the Climate Change Authority was established in 2011 for exactly this purpose. The Explanatory Memorandum to the Bill establishing the authority states:

The Climate Change Authority Bill 2011 sets up the Climate Change Authority, which will be an independent body that provides the Government expert advice on key aspects of the mechanism and the Government’s climate change mitigation initiatives. 

The Government will remain responsible for carbon pricing policy decisions.

The authority was rocked with turmoil when Tony Abbott tried to abolish it and subsequently lost a number of Board members (see also this and this). It is constituted to have a Board composed of a Chair, the Chief Scientist and up to seven others - it currently only has three others. It continues to be funded but the 2019-20 portfolio budget statements show (p. 199 ff) the Authorities expenditure to be basically constant at $1.5 million per year and a staff of nine. This should be contrasted with the $252 million in Government advertising, including $5 million expected in the last week of the campaign. 
Six million dollars is a reasonable estimate for the "Make the Call" campaign under powering forward alone - that is the same as the Government is prepared to spend on independent expert advice on climate change mitigation.

Labor's policy commits to $17.4 million funding over the forward estimates to, in its words, 'reverse the Government’s abolition of the Climate Change Authority and ensure that it continues to be appropriately resourced to achieve its role.' (This number comes from the FactSheet - the Policy Document says $24 million).

Maybe Alan Kohler would like to revisit his column and just say - Vote Labor.

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans JWL

No comments: