There’s Hope – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report – National Parks Association of Queensland

There’s Hope – Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Report

Author: Jason Lyddieth

Photography: Changing by Alisa Singer

There’s hope.

That’s the most important take-out from the 2021 Report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

It’s easy to get overwhelmed by how dire the situation is. The report says, “It is unequivocal that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. Widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere have occurred.”

The report finds climate change drives the increased severity and frequency of extreme weather events such as heatwaves, floods, cyclones
and droughts. Other impacts of climate change include sea level rise, food and water shortages and increased conflict and displacement
of people.

Unless temperatures are kept under 1.5 degrees most of the Great Barrier Reef will be lost. If global warming increases to 2 degrees, all coral reefs (over 99%) will be lost world-wide and there will be virtually no chance of saving the Great Barrier Reef.

Make no mistake, it’s bad news.
But we can turn it around.

We have the solutions. And these solutions are good things we should be doing anyway, regardless of the threat of climate change.

Let’s break down what we need to do. It’s pretty simple. We need to cut emissions and we need to nurture nature to grow back to draw carbon out of the atmosphere. That’s it.

The first step is to transition to clean energy. That means phasing out coal, gas and oil and replacing them with clean energy.

There is a big job in looking after the workers and communities currently dependent on fossil fuels. We’ve all benefited from coal and gas so we need to stand with the people who will be most impacted by acting on climate change.

We can support them to move into new opportunities. Australia is the best place in the world for renewable energy and report after report shows that if we do have a plan to move to renewable energy there will be plenty of new opportunities.

By switching to renewable energy the air will be cleaner, the streets quieter, our bills cheaper. Other ways to cut emissions will mean more livable cities and towns, less waste, and opportunities for farmers to turn their land from emitters into carbon sinks to draw down emissions.

Acting on climate also means we will need to nurture nature to regrow. By helping nature thrive, greenhouse gasses will be drawn out of the atmosphere into plants. That means more national parks and protected areas, the wildlife we love coming back from the brink of extinction, and restoring the natural world to the exquisite beauty it should be.

Economic forces are driving climate action. Renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels, and all over the world governments and
companies are making the switch to clean energy.

Over 300 of the world’s biggest companies have signed up to RE100 to drive climate action. Major car companies are now building electrical vehicles. Banks, investment funds, superfunds and insurers are increasingly refusing to support fossil fuels.

Governments are acting. More than 130 countries have committed to net zero emissions by 2030. 10,747 cities have signed onto Global Covenant of Mayors driving climate action from the local level.

This still isn’t the level of action needed to ensure a relatively safe climate. Much more is needed. But momentum is building and the rate of action is increasing.

Sadly and disgracefully, Australia was just named dead last out of 193 United Nations member countries for climate action in The sustainable Development Report 2021.

Australia should be leading the world on climate action. We have the best renewable energy resources on the planet. We are wealthy, smart, innovative and hard working. As a country we pride ourselves on punching above our weight.

The vast majority of Aussies, from all walks of life, support stronger climate action. The Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) just conducted the biggest poll on climate change ever in Australia and the results show overwhelming support for climate action — with 67% of us rating climate change as one of the issues we are most concerned about.

Unfortunately our politicians are listening to the big polluters, not the people. The fossil fuel companies donated $1,329,754 to the major
political parties in the 2019–2020 financial year and there is a revolving door between the boardrooms of fossil fuel companies, lobby groups, politicians and political staffers.

But if we raise our voices and demand climate action, the politicians will have to listen. There is a growing movement and we can quickly turn Australia into a leader on this issue.

If you’re worried about climate change but haven’t raised your voice, now is the time. There is hope, but only if we speak out now.

Come over to the ACF website if you want to see some effective ways to take action.

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