Australia must lift climate action, as the latest science is crystal clear Media Release

Sep 27, 2013 - 6:00pm

Australia needs credible targets and policies to respond to the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming, The Climate Institute said today. 

“The world's leading experts on climate science are telling us, once again, loud and clear, that the world is warming, and the burning of coal, oil, and gas is the primary cause,” said Erwin Jackson, Deputy CEO of The Climate Institute. 

”Among developed nations Australia is most exposed to climate risks. We have the technology, the wealth, and the talent to avoid dangerous climate change.”

“But do we have the political will and the credible domestic policies? It is in our national interest to do what we can to help avoid 2°C warming.”

The latest IPCC report, released today in Stockholm, confirms that Earth is warming at a rate unprecedented in human history, with the global temperature already having by almost 1°C in the 20th and 21st centuries. 

The Climate Institute summarised earlier this week some of the implications of the new IPCC report contents in a media brief.

With each degree of warming the risks to Australia rise. Amongst them: disease and injury from more frequent, hotter heatwaves and fires, infrastructure and business damage from more hostile weather, and erosion of food security and living standards in Australia and around the Asia-Pacific. 

Jackson said: “The Government, along with those of over 190 other nations, agrees that we need to avoid a 2°C increase in global temperature. Earlier this week the Government reiterated is its commitment to reducing emissions by up to 25 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020.”

”Australia's current minimum emissions target – 5 per cent on 2000 levels by 2020 – is out of step with the commitments made by other major emitting countries. For example, United States has set a target of almost 20 per cent (based on 2000 levels).” 

“For Australia, only a 25 per cent target is consistent with a fair contribution to global efforts to avoid dangerous climate change beyond 2°C.” 

“Around the world, all major emitters are acting in some form to limit pollution and drive multibillion-dollar investments in clean energy. Australia needs to help build on this unprecedented, but insufficient, level of international action."

“Only with a credible domestic policy can Australia help build global efforts. No independent assessment to-date had shown the Government’s policy can achieve even the weak minimum  5 per cent target. Without clear limits on pollution Australia's emissions are highly likely to spiral upwards, making it much more expensive change course later.”

“The Government should retain the current carbon laws until it can demonstrate through independent analysis that is policy can achieve emission reductions of up to 25 per cent by 2020.”

For more information            

Kristina Stefanova, Communications Director, The Climate Institute, 02 8239 6299b

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