If your job requires you to know something about the status of climate change policy in Australia, then you’ll be getting your hands on Professor Ross Garnaut’s update papers, the third of which was released today.
A final report will be delivered to the Commonwealth Government by the end of May 2011 but eight papers in total will be released by the end of March. Remaining topics to be addressed in the series are: transforming rural land use, the science of climate change, carbon pricing and reducing Australia’s emissions, low emissions technology and the innovation challenge and transforming the electricity sector (sure to be a well-thumbed volume in NSW).
I think the review has been wise to approach the update through a drip feed of papers. For mere mortals, this information can be hard work. A gradual release of information makes it much easier to digest, analyse, form a view and communicate a view.
I’m the first to admit I’m no technical expert on this topic. But if politicians and policy makers want broader community acceptance of the need for action, there needs to be a quantum leap in efforts to help Australians understand why action is so urgent and what impact mitigation efforts will have on their everyday lives (ie, their hip pocket/job/business). Which is why the quality of analysis and accessibility of information surrounding this update is important.
You would expect key business, industry and lobby groups and think tanks such as the The Climate Group and The Climate Institute to actively promote their position in response to issues raised in the update papers. Then there’s bloggers and online news sites such as Climate Spectator and crikey for news and views.
I appreciate efforts from those more in the know to highlight key points and facts, propose Q&A’s that aren’t afraid to address the basics, summary papers written in language a reasonable person can understand, punchy expert analysis and pointers to websites and blogs with more information.
There are far more information sources for business and citizens to consider on this topic than there were in 2008 for Professor Garnaut’s first review. Who would you recommend reading over the next few months to stay on top of this debate?