EXTREME weather records have been broken on every continent on Earth in the 12 months since the last United Nations global climate summit, according to a new report from the Climate Council.
As the urgency of the climate crisis escalates, the Climate Council will be on the ground at the latest UN Conference of the Parties – COP27 – in Egypt on November 6, where world leaders will try to find consensus for accelerating global climate action.
Dr Simon Bradshaw, Climate Council Senior Researcher and report author, who has attended multiple COPs and is attending COP27 in Egypt, said: “From Lismore to Lahore, the last 12 months has seen extreme weather records tumbling on every continent on the planet. The costs of climate change are being measured in rising hunger, in families forced from their homes and in lives lost.
“Europe sweltered through its hottest summer on record. Parts of East Africa endured unrelenting drought while other parts of the continent suffered deadly floods. Many parts of Asia suffered record heat waves, and Pakistan has suffered one of the world’s worst ever flooding disasters. Sadly, the list goes on. Here in Australia, we are still in the midst of our costliest ever flood disaster, as affected communities anxiously look ahead to predictions of a wet summer.
“Last year I attended COP26 in Glasgow where Australia was widely condemned as a climate laggard and was ranked dead last on climate of all developed countries. Australia is now back in the race to net zero but starting well behind. We have a long way to go, especially if the Albanese Government wants to co-host a COP at home in partnership with Pacific Island countries.
“Australia’s target of reducing emissions by 43 percent by 2030 is a starting point. It’s time for all countries to set an end date for fossil fuels, for Australia to dump all finance for coal, oil and gas, and get serious about transforming our country into a clean energy superpower.”
Nicki Hutley, Climate Councillor and leading economist, who will be at the summit in Egypt, said: “Australia, along with the rest of the world, is living through a new era of severe climate consequences.
“The reality is that global commitments are dangerously off track to prevent a climate catastrophe. The UN, just last week, concluded that existing targets would result in catastrophic levels of global warming of between 2.1-2.9°C.
“COP27 is a chance for world leaders to demonstrate their words are being backed up with concrete actions. If we move fast, Australia can secure huge advantages for its economic interests as well as our national security.
“The global race to net zero has already sparked a clean energy race between the United States and China. This year Washington approved the biggest climate spend in US history, while China built nearly half of the world’s new renewable energy infrastructure. Europe is also accelerating its shift away from fossil fuels, which is happening faster than planned as the region tries to end its reliance on Russian gas.
“Australia needs to do more at home, and we also need to do more in looking after our region and neighbours. As a first step, the federal government should increase our international climate finance contribution to at least $3 billion, and support efforts to set up a global loss and damage fund.
“The race is on, but world leaders need to pick up the pace. COP27 is a chance to go further and faster to meet the climate crisis with the urgency it demands.”
Report Key Findings:
- As we enter the age of climate consequences, decisive action on climate change, and greater international collaboration, has never been more important.
- The world has already warmed by around 1.2°C, putting us at risk of triggering abrupt and irreversible changes that would be catastrophic for human societies. Every increment of warming raises those risks.
- The pressure for countries to do more to tackle the root cause of climate change – the burning of coal, oil and gas – has never been greater.
- This year saw record growth in renewable electricity generation around the world with new installations helping the world avoid more than 600 million tonnes of CO2 emissions – significantly more than what Australia emits in a year.
- Australia returns to this year’s UN climate conference with an improved 2030 emissions reduction target of 43% below 2005 levels by 2030 but, even so, it remains one of the weakest in the developed world. This must become a floor, not a ceiling, on our action.
- Restoring our international climate reputation, and righting past wrongs, is clearly in our national interests.
“Australia has a critical role to play in ending the world’s dependence on fossil fuels,” Dr Bradshaw added.
“As one of the world’s biggest polluters, but also one of the sunniest and windiest places on the planet, Australia could turn the tables by exporting its clean energy to the world. In doing so, we could cut global emissions by around eight percent, equivalent to cutting all the emissions of Europe and the UK.”
Based on Australia’s high emissions, economic strength and vast untapped opportunities for renewable energy, Australia should be aiming to reduce its emissions to 75% below 2005 levels by 2030. Here’s 10 climate game-changers to get us started.
For interviews please contact Brianna Hudson on 0455 238 875 or Jane Gardner on 0438 130 905.
The Climate Council is Australia’s leading community-funded 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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