by Ross Garnaut
La Trobe University Press, 2019
It is now more than a decade since the 2008 “Climate Change Review” was presented to the Australian Government. In late 2019 the author of that review, Ross Garnaut, published his latest book: Super-power: Australia’s low-carbon opportunity. Few commentators in Australia have the knowledge and experience of Garnaut in the field of climate change. Probably none has had the access to top-level records, data or consultation.
In this new book the developments in policy, and the activities and climate studies in the field since 2008 are discussed. Despite the underlying trend of inaction, and the increasingly worrisome evidence in our environment, a silver lining is identified and enlarged upon. Garnaut outlines a range of actions and processes through which Australia has opportunity to address our own excess gas emissions while also dancing delicately into an industrial and social future which appeases that ever-present and problematic character: the economy. We can, he says, address the causes of climate change AND adapt our society in a purposeful transition. If the stars align! In outlining these ideas Garnaut intentionally avoids the swamp of partisan politics and finger pointing, maintaining his focus fairly and squarely upon the issues rather than the personalities.
The technocratic detail provided in this study is not for some, as Garnaut himself points out. To read from cover to cover is not essential. A degree in acronym-ology would be a distinct advantage. The opportunity he outlines of a deliberate and optimistic path forward does make this book a worthwhile read.