While the preliminary report from Professor Garnaut is sobering reading there is hope. The CSIRO CT page 5 of the 22nd February reports that a mere 35 square kilometres of land could supply enough solar thermal electricity for Australia. The trick is how to fund the investment. Garnaut puts his faith in emissions permits and trading to supply the funds. This will supply the funds but it may not give the most efficient method to allocate the funds. The most efficient method of allocating resources is through markets where many buyers make choices between many sellers. If we distributed the funds raised from emissions permits to many buyers and permitted them to make choices on what renewable technology to invest in then we would have a market in infrastructure for reducing greenhouse gases. If we gave funds to those in the community whose lifestyles generated fewer emissions but we required them to spend the money on infrastructure to reduce emissions then we will magnify the utility of emissions permits. This approach would mean that we could have zero net emissions within 10 years and as a nation be richer at the end of the period than if we continue on our current course. The addition to Garnaut’s approach is to distribute funds from emissions permits by paying people not to consume rather than giving the money to governments to allocate.

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