2°C not ‘safe’: World must ‘completely decarbonise’ in 30 years

Print Friendly

The world must almost completely decarbonise in the next 30-35 years, and the vast majority of fossil fuels be left in the ground, if we are to have any hope of tackling climate change effectively, a new Climate Council report has warned.

The warning is based on one of the major findings of the report: that the scientific case behind 2°C as a “safe” level of global warming – a figure that has underpinned climate policies around the globe – is rapidly weakening.

The report – Growing Risks, Critical Choices, released on Tuesday – finds that, compared to four years ago when the Climate Council’s Critical Decade report was published, the risks of climate change now looks more serious at lower levels of warming.

“The scientific underpinning for the 2°C policy target being a ‘safe’ level of climate change is now weaker than it was a decade ago,” the report says.

“The scientific case for a 1.5°C limit is more consistent with our current level of understanding, bolstering the case for even more urgent action.”

It is a worrying revelation, particularly considering how many major countries’ official emissions targets are deemed to be “not consistent” with the goal of keeping global warming below 2°C – Australia being chief among them.

As we reported here earlier this month, the Abbott government – with its 2030 target of 26-28 per cent reductions on 2005 levels – is the worst performer on two key measures: per capita emissions and emissions intensity. It is also in the bottom three of aggregate targets from a range of different years, and on reductions per year.

Meanwhile, the impact of climate change on Australia is already being felt. The Climate Council report, which reaffirms that it is “beyond doubt” that global warming is being driven by human activities, says hot days have doubled in the last 50 years, while heatwaves have become hotter, last longer and occur more often.

Over the last 30 years, it notes, extreme fire weather has increased in the southeast region of Australia, including southern NSW, Victoria, Tasmania and parts of South Australia. Extreme sea-level events have tripled at Sydney and Fremantle since the middle of the 20th Century.

Screen Shot 2015-08-25 at 11.58.06 am

From 2020 onwards, the report says the predicted increase in drought frequency is estimated to cost Australia $7.3 billion annually, reducing GDP by 1 per cent per year.

If global temperatures happen to reach 3°C above pre-industrial levels, the report says this would put an estimated 8.5 per cent of the world’s species are at risk of extinction.

Under a “business as usual” scenario, leading to global warming of 4°C or more, a staggering one in six species could be lost, the report says.

“The more we learn about climate change, the riskier it looks,” the report says. “The climate change landscape today stands in stark contrast to where it stood four years ago.

“Halfway through the Critical Decade, many consequences of climate change are already evident, and the risks posed by further climate change are better understood.

“It is clear that global society must almost completely decarbonise in the next 30-35 years, or sooner if possible, to tackle the climate change challenge effectively. This means that the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground.”  

RenewEconomy Free Daily Newsletter

Share this:

  • john

    Sophie No one is listening.
    Sorry but we live in the age of ” it is all for me bugger you jack ”
    When our Government is giving out the message that any worry about any change in the climate is all take your pick 1 bullocks 2 crap 3 rubbish 4 not believable.
    The country has a huge problem.
    I guess it gets back to STEM rates of learning.
    This year 2015 may be witness to a pretty strong El Nino which will rocket up the information just like 1997-8 did.
    I bet you with out a fear of doubt the spin then will be about how the 2015-6 El Nino swayed the figures.
    Am I positive?
    No not exactly because I never underestimate the stupidity of the average elector.

  • Kevin Brown

    Surprise, surprise. One degree of warming since pre-industrial times has already occurred and extreme weather events are now costing us dearly. Five category 5 cyclones have hit Northern Queensland this century while none occurred in the previous millennium. These extreme weather events have cost taxpayers billions and forced household insurance costs up to levels that are unmanageable for many, not to mention causing an extraordinary amount of damage to the Great Barrier Reef. Perhaps focus needs to be put on the personal cost of climate change inaction such as soaring insurance premiums and increased death rates during extreme weather events to convince the electorate of the need to take strong action.

    • john

      no one is hearing you
      Basically Australia is a country that is of the view that it is “She will be alright mate don’t you worry about that
      As to the future hey mate we do not give a flying because it all about me not about any one else.
      Welcome to the age of it is all about me

    • Paul Schober

      What “strong action” means, to the electorate, is voluntarily paying 3X as much for their fuel, on the HOPE that it will help the planet.

  • john

    Spam crap get rid of it pease

  • john

    Please moderator get rid of this person

    hmm seems pretty hard to put a spam name of profile or http address into here

    It is “lucilleccanty” which is typical spam link to being ripped of perhaps they should target morons in fox for instance who have no brains

    • nakedChimp

      just flag them for spam and the mods will deal with it. Don’t waste your time commenting their action – it’s useless. click the flag and be done with it.

  • john

    fke off pls

  • Paul Schober

    “This means that the vast majority of fossil fuels must stay in the ground.”

    Should have just led with this:) WE GOT NO OIL, SO OIL BAD!

  • metro70

    Climate Council cannot support anything they say. They don’t even bother to try even though getting the truth out is supposed to be their mission.
    Their premise is a contradiction of IPCC AR5 [ the body, not SPM], that acknowledges the > 18 year pause they seek to expunge.
    They’ve latched on to the ‘adjustments’ and the fiddle with the old data to make it say what suits their agenda—-to make the past cooler so they can then claim the present is catastrophically warmer.
    The pause itself was their catastrophe – an existential inconvenience for the warmist campaign to rejig the world in every way along socialist lines.
    They had to prepare the way for the grabbing of control of world resources by the UN as outlined in Green Paradox- whereby the despotic and dysfunctional UN becomes the virtual ‘owner’ of all the resources.
    This misappropriation is achieved by the creation by the UN under direction of the Global Greens—-of a consumer cartel to force resource countries to leave their resources in the ground —worthless in situ —-only able to sell them at the pleasure of Global Green Socialists and the UN.
    Since this is tantamount to an act of war, Green Paradox—- a German idea— is sanguine about its plan possibly precipitating the military conflict that it calmly foreshadows.
    ‘SAVING THE PLANET’ is to be used as cover and justification for ABSOLUTELY ANYTHING–including war according to the plan.
    So the Climate Council -with their intent to kill coal & annihilate Australia’s sovereignty, livelihood and its future as a 1st world country—in cahoots with their fellow Socialists in the Sierra Club and Greenpeace—- had to FIRST find a way to turn a pause in temperature while CO2 continues to rise—into a ‘worse than we thought’ catastrophic warming.
    That is—a treasonous scam to perpetuate their CAGW hoax in order to destroy Australia as a sovereign prosperous country.

  • iconickevin

    Two degrees C ? Your kidding me. We are at 1.26C now and blowing througt to 6C and beyond.
    Brace for impact

  • GnomeCoach

    The warnings have been out there for about four decades. Let the historical response inform us. The needed change will take place when industrial civilization collapses. Humans will try to continue to prevail as they go extinct. In their zeal they will take Earth’s life support systems with them dooming tens-of-millions of other species that they feel so superior to.