Ross Garnaut’s interim report in February was a remarkable document; unlike all previous official reports on climate change, it recognised the true implications of what the scientists are trying to tell us. For the first time, the analysis of emission reduction targets and the international structures required to achieve them were linked closely to the climate science.
The unusual directness of this link meant that the interim report’s analysis was less clouded by implicit political judgments about “what is feasible” and less attenuated by undue emphasis on scientific uncertainties.
The dismay felt by many people on the release in early September of the Garnaut draft supplementary report Targets and Trajectories stemmed from the decision to sever the close link between the science and the policy recommendations and allow political judgments to intercede. In the intervening months Ross Garnaut had redefined his job: his task was no longer to tell the Rudd Government what it needs to do to avert climate chaos but to strategise politically on its behalf. More from Clive Hamilton at Crikey.com.