Professor Ross Garnaut has now submitted two major reports on climate change to the Labor government, one in 2008 and one (Statement: Climate evidence is in, it is time to act as one
involving eight updates) this year. He has been a much used economic adviser by Labor governments, including as senior economic adviser to Prime Minister Hawke from 1983-85, and was an important influence on Labor's reductions in tariffs and floating of the exchange rate in the 1980s. Against these roles Garnaut has been regarded as a prominent advocate of reforms that allow market forces greater play.
How, then, should one assess his advocacy of the opposite - major government interventions in the economy to stop the emissions of greenhouse gases because of the alleged threat that over time temperatures will otherwise increase to levels that threaten human existence?
The basic rationale here is that government action is needed to reduce greenhouse gases emitted as a result of human activity because individuals will otherwise continue to consume fossil fuels even if temperatures increase. Hence, it is argued, just as individuals need to be stopped by government regulation from polluting air or water, they also need to be prevented from using fossil fuels moving instead to usage of other energy sources. Accordingly, Garnaut's support for government intervention is fundamentally based on the claim by a group of scientists that threatening temperatures from the greenhouse effect, arising from increased radiations back to earth from the concentrations of greenhouse gases that accumulate in the atmosphere, will reach dangerous levels.