The landmark Special Report on 1.5 Degrees is an enormous wake-up call for Australian politicians and industry that they must accelerate an end to the burning coal, oil and gas or instead help inflict devastating climate damage on our communities and natural world, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) says.
ACF Chief Executive Officer, Kelly O’Shanassy, said the landmark report prepared by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and approved by the Australian Government, details overwhelming scientific evidence of the damage that will occur to our communities, ecosystems and infrastructure if global warming rises above 1.5 degrees.
“Climate damage is hurting Australia right now through worsening droughts, fire seasons and coral bleaching,” Ms O’Shanassy said.
“The IPCC is clear that even if we do limit global warming to 1.5 degrees there are significant implications for Australia. Warming at this level would significantly challenge the health of the Great Barrier Reef and other parts of our natural world, along with increasing the pressure of extreme weather on our communities.
“But the IPCC is also clear that if we allow warming above 1.5 degrees this damage will get much worse, making it hard for some communities and the natural world to adapt at all.
“On current levels of global action, the planet will heat up by a disastrous three degrees or more by the end of the century. Keeping to 1.5 degrees will require a more concerted and accelerated effort that means a rapid end to the unfettered burning of coal, gas and oil and the razing of forests. Australia must do its fair share.
“Though a big task, we can take solace in the fact that we have the technology, knowledge and, through the Paris Climate Agreement, the platform to do it.
“But this scientific reality is being denied and ignored by many of Australia’s elected representatives and irresponsible parts of industry. Despite overwhelming evidence, they have delayed, wrecked and dismissed action to cut climate pollution for several decades.
“Australian climate pollution is rising as a direct result of the policies of the Federal Coalition Government. It is contributing to the problem, not the solution.
“The Federal Coalition Government has failed to implement a cohesive, ambitious and economy-wide climate plan and has hitched its wagon to the coal industry – a key driver of the climate damage that is hurting us right now and is projected to get worse.
“This inaction is reckless and immoral vandalism of our planet and communities.
“The IPCC report also makes clear that we need to get better at investing in storing carbon in the natural world and deploying technologies that can remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere. Our governments and industry should urgently investigate how they can better do this with the right incentives.
“But the IPCC is clear that these technologies – while likely necessary - are no alternative to swift and complete pollution cuts. There is no escaping the conclusions of the Special Report – we must take swift action to cut climate pollution, end the burning of coal, gas and oil, and accelerate the deployment of clean energy.”