Critical decade for climate action

AUSTRALIA’S critical window of opportunity to tackle climate change is closing, according to a new landmark report from the Climate Council.

The Critical Decade 2017: Accelerating Climate Action report shows Australia is highly vulnerable to many consequences of a changing climate, from heatwaves, droughts and bushfires to devastating coral reef bleaching, while most of the nation’s population centres are also highly exposed to sea level rise.

Climate councillor and climate scientist Professor Will Steffen described Australia’s efforts to tackle climate change over the last decade as “unacceptably weak”, highlighting the nation’s pollution levels had been steadily rising every quarter since early 2015.

The report found Australia is failing to tackle climate change with emissions rising and a lack of any coherent, long-term national approach to reduce emissions in the short, medium or long term.

Climate Council chief executive Amanda McKenzie said the report was a critical warning the window of opportunity for the Federal Government to tackle climate change was closing.

She commended state governments leading the transition to clean, reliable and affordable renewable energy.

“We are seeing states and territories, along with local governments, all rolling up their sleeves to do their bit,” she said.

“Australia cannot accept anything less than a long-term, bipartisan policy framework that turns away from fossil fuels and embraces the inevitable clean energy future.”