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Tuesday, 4 November 2003
Page: 21942


Mr MARTYN EVANS (4:47 PM) —The statistics are absolutely vital to this debate on the Ozone Protection and Synthetic Greenhouse Gas Legislation Amendment Bill 2003, the Ozone Protection (Licence Fees—Imports) Amendment Bill 2003 and the Ozone Protection (Licence Fees—Manufacture) Amendment Bill 2003, because the statistics, and the assumptions made which underlie them, determine the amount of economic activity which is likely to occur in developing countries. They therefore determine the amount of CO2 which is likely to be released into the atmosphere over the next 100 years and the temperature rises which are likely to occur on the planet over that period of time as well.

Although the statistics themselves are perhaps not as exciting as the headline-grabbing greenhouse temperature predictions, the statistics and the economic projections are far more important because they determine the importance of this very debate. They determine the outcomes that governments need to be looking at when they assess the time periods over which action needs to be taken, the importance that needs to be attached day by day to the legislative changes, the significance that we place on the predictions and the period of time in which governments and populations need to change their economic activity, and how quickly we need to shift our science and our industrial processes.

So they determine a great deal of the policy mix that we need to have in place and how quickly we need to have it in place. The statistics are vital, and the assumptions that underlie those statistics are even more important. Therefore, the work of Castles and Henderson in examining the underlying statistics which the IPCC used in their scenario calculations is far more important than the world has given credit for so far. All we have looked at up to this moment, I am afraid, is the headlines that have come from the temperature predictions and the temperature changes.

The work of Castles and Henderson is just one such report. As is the case with science, this work should be published, as should the work of the IPCC and the underlying statistical calculations. It should be put out on the Internet. It should be examined by other scientists, by other statisticians and by other economists. It should be challenged openly and debate should ensue. The government should put their Treasury officials to work; they should put their statisticians to work in the OECD and Treasury. Indeed, this should be an open, public debate, as science should also be.

But it should not just be about the science; it should be about more than that. It should be about the statistics and the economics. As it looks at the moment, the IPCC seems to have used exchange rate calculations to examine the market forces at work and to compare the economics rather than to use purchasing power parity. As most people here would understand, that is fundamentally a grave error because it overestimates the purchasing power parity calculation, whereas the PPP model, as most people familiar with comparing international statistics would know, is far more reliable. We then end up with very significant mistakes in the calculations. Certainly, given Henderson's and Castles' fundamental standing, it would seem that their calculation is very much to be preferred.

That would then indicate that the IPCC have grossly overestimated the rate of growth of the developing countries. They have therefore overestimated the amount of CO2 that will be produced and overestimated the temperature change that will occur over the 100-year period. That does not attack the underlying assumption that there will be global climate change and that does not make Henderson and Castles so-called greenhouse sceptics. It simply calls into question the rate of change that will occur. It calls into question the underlying assumption the IPCC have made about the rate of growth of CO2. The IPCC have failed to look at the amount of gain that the world has made in reducing carbon intensity. For example, China, like India, is a major producer of CO2 but its CO2 intensity is nothing like that of the developing countries of the last generation of the industrial revolution—for example, Britain—was 100 years ago.

The IPCC have failed to take into account the savings of CO2 intensity in recent years. And if one looks at some of the absurdities of the projections which the IPCC are making, you will see that they are projecting, for example, that South Africa in 50 years time will have an economy which is larger than that of the United States in 2050. The IPCC are predicting that in the year 2100 the GDP per head in Papua New Guinea—which is a terrific country; I have nothing against Papua New Guinea; I am sure their rate of growth will be significant—will exceed that of Australia. They are predicting that North Korea in 2100 will have a GDP per head that exceeds that of the United States. I am sure there is only one other person in the world who would make that prediction, and he is the current leader of the North Korean economy. No-one else in the world would make that prediction, except the IPCC. I doubt that they would confirm that prediction, but that is the outcome that they are predicting.

The leader of Libya, for example, might well agree with this. He may predict that the Libyan economy will exceed that of the United States in the year 2100. The IPCC would agree with him, but I doubt that anyone else of rational thought would. Regarding Algeria, Tunisia and our region of the world—and according to all the figures introduced to the House by the Speaker the other day—apparently all of them will have economies like Samoa, PNG and Vanuatu. Apparently all of their economies will grow to the point where, in the year 2100, their GDP per capita will exceed that of Australia and probably also that of many countries in the OECD. That is the absurdity of the statistical base that the IPCC are using because of their mistake in using the exchange rate rather than the PPP. (Time expired)