A Massive Challenge: Limiting Temperature Rise to 1.5°C

08.10.18 By

THE INTERNATIONAL effort to tackle climate change must be accelerated in order to limit global temperature rises, a new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has found.

The IPCC report, released today in South Korea, is an urgent reminder that global warming poses a grave risk to humanity.

To put into context what this means for Australia, the Climate Council is preparing its own report: “The good, the bad and the ugly: Limiting temperature rise to 1.5°C”, which will be released in the next few hours.

“Global temperatures have risen 1°C in the era following mass industrialisation and this has directly affected Australians, with worsening extreme weather events like heatwaves, droughts, bushfires and coastal flooding,” said the Climate Council’s acting CEO, Dr Martin Rice.

The risks to our health, livelihoods and the environment become much more profound as temperatures rise, said Dr Rice.

The IPCC report found that current national pledges are not enough to limit warming to 1.5°C. “It’s clear that concerted action from all countries, particularly significant greenhouse gas polluters like Australia, is critical if we are to keep temperatures below the 1.5°C limit,” he said.

“Inaction has already cost us dearly. A 1.5°C world, our best possible future, will change our lives. It’s going to be tough to meet that target but we must strive to do so because a 2°C world would be much worse,” he said.

Dr Rice said even if warming is limited to 1.5°C, coral reefs could lose a further 70-90% of cover, eliminating the Great Barrier Reef as we know it.

“The window of opportunity to tackle climate change is rapidly closing.  The Australian government must introduce credible policies to rapidly and deeply cut our greenhouse gas pollution levels, which have continued to rise over the past three years,” said Dr Rice.

“If other countries followed Australia’s approach to dealing with climate change, we would be heading to global warming well above 2°C and up to 3°C. This degree of climate change would be unmanageable for most communities,” he said.

“The solutions are available. We need to accelerate the transition to renewables and storage technologies and ramp up other climate solutions across all sectors of the economy,” said Dr Rice.


For more information or to arrange an interview please contact Senior Communications Advisor Lisa Upton on 0438 972 260.

The Climate Council is Australia’s leading climate change communications organisation. We provide authoritative, expert and evidence-based advice on climate change to journalists, policymakers, and the wider Australian community.

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