Science

From the Hill: Climate change urgency

From the Hill: Climate change urgency”

The scientists said government commitments to curb climate change under the Paris Climate Agreement, even if fully met, would still leave the world on track for about 3 degrees of warming.

Melissa Price, the federal Environment Minister, said the government would consider the IPCC report, saying the government "is committed to the Paris Agreement and takes its worldwide obligations seriously".

That's one of the most pointed findings in a special report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was tasked with studying how a 2.0° Celsius rise in global temperature will affect the planet, its ecosystems and human communities, compared with a 1.5°C temperature increase.

"It's only when clean energy gets as cheap as that from coal-fired power stations, will India, for instance - which clearly needs more power - leapfrog to clean energy".

"The government (is) supportive of small business, of industry, of farms, and of coal mining", he said.

Australia, the planet's biggest coal exporter and the fourth biggest producer, won't stop using coal to power the generators that produce its electricity.

At 2 C, everything from melting sea ice to droughts, famines and floods will be significantly worse than at 1.5 C, the report says.

"The government does have a bit of a love affair with coal and see the use of coal in Australia going on forever", she said.

"Hanging on to coal is reckless and very unsafe because it will fuel global warming".

The agricultural industry is also calling for a shift to renewable energy. The reality of the world today is that climate change is now happening at such an alarmingly fast rate that we may only have 12 years left before hundreds of millions of people are in peril of losing everything.

"If we don't quit coal, we are screwed", said Mr Bandt. "We're seeing deeper and more severe and more frequent drought, which is already playing havoc on our agriculture production systems".

"We need the political leadership and the decisive action".

"Farmers are committed to farming sustainably into the future", she said.

"There is a role for high-quality Australian coal and it's compatible with meeting Paris emissions reductions targets", Ian Macfarlane, council chief executive and a former Coalition energy minister.

This move would spell certain disaster as the USA is the world's second-largest greenhouse gas emitter, behind China.

According to the Global Coal Plant Tracker, China now has 957 gigawatts (GW) of coal-fired power operating - more than four times India's 219 GW.

"The world's best hope are solar and wind, and you will additionally need batteries for storage and a smart grid to carry electricity across continents - all those things need to be developed".

There are also new coal plants being built or planned in numerous other Asian countries, including Indonesia, Pakistan and the Philippines.



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