Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet this Decade

15.04.21 By , , , and

Climate scientists have observed with mounting concern the continuing emissions and the rise in atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. For decades, they have issued dire warnings about what is at stake and what is required to curb global warming. Yet global temperatures continue to rise, along with damages from extreme weather.

This report “Aim High, Go Fast: Why Emissions Need to Plummet this Decade” is the Climate Council’s science-backed vision for what Australia’s best effort could look like. Australia is a nation of currently high emissions but rich renewable energy resources. The country has been ravaged by unprecedented bushfires, droughts, and floods in recent years, and decision makers should not ignore these warnings.

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An infographic describing the various environmental and planetary impacts of global warming at different temperature levels

“Australia, as an advanced economy and major emitter, and one with unrivalled potential for renewable energy and other climate solutions, should be a leader not a laggard, and reduce its emissions even faster than the required global average. Every tonne of emissions avoided matters, and every delay has an escalating cost. We urge you all to take this report seriously and respond accordingly.” — Professor Christopher Field and Dr Kevin Trenberth

Key Findings

1. Climate change is accelerating with deadly consequences. The ecological systems that have sustained human life and societies for generations are being severely damaged by increasing heat and worsening extreme weather events.

2. Our response must match the scale and urgency of this worsening situation. Action to deeply reduce emissions this decade will determine whether the climate system can or cannot be stabilised at warming of well below 2°C.

3. As momentum for climate action gathers speed around the world, all efforts must now focus on steps that can be taken this decade.

4. Australia has everything it needs to act swiftly and decisively to help avert climate catastrophe, and prosper in a global clean economy.

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