30 November 2010

An Evaluation of the Targets and Timetables of Proposed Australian Emissions Reduction Policies

My paper on Australian emissions reduction proposals has now been published.  Thanks to all those who provided comments on earlier versions. Here are the details:
Pielke, Jr., R. A. (2010), An evaluation of the targets and timetables of proposed Australian emissions reduction policies. Environmental Science & Policy , doi: 10.1016/j.envsci.2010.10.008 

 This paper evaluates Australia’s proposed emissions reduction policies in terms of the implied rates of decarbonization of the Australian economy for a range of proposed emissions reduction targets.The paper uses the Kaya Identity to structure the evaluation, employing both a bottom-up approach (based on projections of future Australian population, economic growth,and technology) as well as a top-down approach (deriving implied rates of decarbonization consistent with the targets and various rates of economic growth). Both approaches indicate that the Australian economy would have to achieve annual rates of decarbonization of 3.8–5.9% to meet a 2020 target of reducing emissions by 5%,15% or 25% below 2000 levels, and about 5% to meet a 2050 target of a 60% reduction below 2000 levels. The paper argues that proposed Australian carbon policy proposals present emission reduction targets that will be all but impossible to meet without creative approaches to accounting as they would require a level of effort equivalent to the deployment of dozens of new nuclear power plants or thousands of new solar thermal plants within the next decade.