CSIRO BOM State of Climate Report – Costs growing, more action needed Media Release

Oct 27, 2016 - 8:30am

Today’s State of the Climate report from CSIRO and the Bureau of Meteorology shows Australia is being put at risk by those who cling to the energy systems of the past, said The Climate Institute today.

“This report shows Australia’s national interest in climate action is clear,” said John Connor CEO of The Climate Institute.  “We must manage the risks and grasp the opportunities of increasingly accessible modern, smart and clean technologies that can help avoid growing climate costs.”

“The biggest immediate risk to Australia is quickly becoming those who prefer to cling to the energy systems and politics of the past.”

Some key facts from the biennial State of the Climate report include:

  • Australia has warmed by around 1°C since 1910.
  • The number of days per year over 35°C has increased in recent decades, except in parts of northern Australia.
  • There has been an increase in extreme fire weather, and a longer fire season, across large parts of Australia.
  • April–October growing season rainfall has reduced by around 11 per cent since the mid-1990s in the continental southeast of Australia.
  • The overwhelming contribution to the additional CO2 in the atmosphere is from human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels.
  • The atmospheric CO2 increases in 2015 were the highest ever observed.

In August, The Climate Institute released research on the implications for Australia of the 1.5°C and 2°C warming, goals agreed in the bipartisan backed Paris Agreement. That research showed warming of 1.5°C would see current extreme heat waves, droughts and mass coral bleaching events on the Great Barrier Reef becoming the new normal. At 2°C, our global climate system would move from the upper end of present day climate variability into uncharted territory, resulting in extreme, costly and dangerous impacts for Australia

“Two days ago the International Energy Agency has released a report, highlighting the global surge in renewable energy capacity transforming global energy systems. On November 4, the Paris Agreement  – the framework for global action towards achieving net zero emissions – comes into force after the quickest ratification of any similar international treaty in history.”

“Yet the Australian government is struggling to develop a plan that integrates strong climate action with inclusive economic and social strategies for the inevitable switch to clean energy and a net zero emissions economy.”

“To help avoid the growing human, economic and environmental costs of climate change, Australia should set a credible pathway to net zero emissions before 2050 and have a plan to ensure business, investor and community confidence in clean energy. It also needs to integrate the costs and opportunities of climate change into mainstream decision making.

“The government’s 2017 review of policies and consideration of post 2030 targets offers an opportunity for the government to look forwards not backwards to the real opportunities and risks of the climate challenge.”

NB Australia’s Joint Standing Committee has been considering the Paris agreement ratification and should put Australia in a position to ratify before or at the Marrakesh convention of the parties (COP) from 7 to 19 November. John Connor will be attending those talks and a pre-COP Briefing paper will be out later next week. 

For more information
Luke Menzies ● Communications Manager ● 0433 889 844 or 02 8239 6299

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