Sunday, 29 September 2013

Fifth IPCC report - we need to act

Land owners stage a sit in at Parliament House, June 2013. Creative  Commons: Kate  Ausburn 2013.

Classified as: reflective journal, politics, advocacy

The fifth assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) shows that climate change is happening and it's caused by humans.

The report says that strong action can keep warming within the 2 degrees Centigrade danger threshold.

But if we fail to act, we can expect to see a "Climate Calamity", as the Guardian describes it.

Continuing the way we are - the 'business as usual' scenario - means  we can expect a 2 degrees Centigrade rise in average (mean) temperatures for Australia in 30-50 years,  with an increase of 3-4 degrees by 2100.

In case anyone thinks two degrees doesn't sound like much, it's worth noting that the Insurance Australia Group has estimated that just a one degree rise in mean summer temperatures would lead to a 17-28% increase in bushfires.

Temperatures on the hottest days would rise by 5-6 degrees under the business as usual scenario.

We would expect to see more floods and droughts in agricultural areas, and sea level rises and floods in coastal areas.  Naturally we would also more deaths and injuries from heat, bush fires and severe weather events, as well as ongoing extinction of other species.

These are just some of the likely impacts, if we don't take serious action. Noting that NSW is already having early bush fires in September should certainly encourage us to act.

As I've noted before, in these circumstances it is ridiculous for the LNP government to be trying to get rid of measures we already have to address climate change, such as the carbon price, the Climate Change Authority, and the Clean Energy Fund. They won't solve climate change overnight, but they are a start. I would urge everyone to advocate to local MPs and decision makers and sign petitions such as this one on the Clean energy fund.

I have also been looking for more ideas on community action, and have found some interesting ideas and projects. I will upgrade this post as soon as possible with more information.

For more information see a summary at The Guardian or the IPCC Summary for Policy Makers

(I am still working on my piece on sexism and left wing politics, but it will be a while yet - it's a complex issue).

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