Intergenerational Report: tackling climate the number one priority for Australia’s future

24.08.23 By

Urgent climate action will make the difference between prosperity and penury in the decades to come, according to the Intergenerational Report released today. 

A two degree increase in global temperatures is expected to cause disruption to productivity, and the agricultural and tourism sectors particularly. Yet the federal government’s current target of 43 percent emissions reduction on 2005 levels by 2030 is not sufficient to limit warming to 1.5 degrees.

This Intergenerational Report clearly shows how much Australia stands to lose economically if we don’t act now to tackle harmful climate change. Leaving climate change out of the conversation will have significant repercussions on future planning.

Climate Councillor and economist Nicki Hutley said: “Climate change is not just an environmental concern; it’s an economic imperative. The Intergenerational Report shows climate change affects some of our most important economic sectors. 

“We are talking about losses in productivity, agricultural production, possibly tourism demand, and an increase in costs from extreme weather disasters. This is going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

“The Treasury estimates we are facing lost economic output to the tune of hundreds of billions of dollars. These estimates don’t even include health and mortality yet, which we know are among the biggest of climate-related costs.

“Our choice is clear: take urgent climate action or endure substantial economic consequences.

“The extent of disruption rests on the action we take today to limit dangerous climate change driven by the burning of highly-polluting fossil fuels.”

Chief Climate Councillor Professor Tim Flannery, said: “Climate dwarfs everything else in this report. If we don’t fix it, nothing else matters. 

“The clock is ticking, and this year’s Intergenerational Report paints a stark reality: this is the make-or-break moment for humanity. This is another significant notch in a colossally long line of wake up calls to urgently address climate change this decade.

“This is a glaring reminder that our choices today determine the legacy we leave for tomorrow. Australia will need a much stronger 2035 emissions reduction target, including cutting by far more than 43 percent by 2030. 

“Governments must rally to drastically cut emissions and cease the extraction and burning of fossil fuels this decade. Every fraction of a degree of warming avoided, will be counted in lives and livelihoods saved.”


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