154 Australian scientists demand climate policy that matches the science

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154 Australian experts have signed on open letter to Malcolm Turnbull demanding urgent action on climate change.

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Source: The Guardian
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The Conversation

Source: The Guardian
Source: The Guardian

154 Australian experts have signed on open letter to Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull demanding urgent action on climate change that matches the dire warnings coming from climate scientists.

The letter, organised by Australian National University climatologist Andrew Glikson, calls on the federal government to make “meaningful reductions of Australia’s peak carbon emissions and coal exports, while there is still time”.

Signatories include leading climate and environmental scientists such as the Climate Council’s Tim Flannery, Will Steffen, and Lesley Hughes, as well as reef scientists Ove Hoegh-Guldberg and Charlie Veron.

They point out that July 2016 was the hottest month ever recorded, and followed a nine-month streak of record-breaking months. Average carbon dioxide concentrations in the atmosphere reached 400 parts per million (ppm) in 2015, and are rising at a rate of nearly 3 ppm each year.

The world is already witnessing the effects of climate change, the letter argues, including an increase in extreme weather events, melting of the polar ice sheets, and ocean acidification.

Australia, along with 179 other nations, has signed the climate treaty brokered in Paris last year, aiming to limit average global warming to “well below 2℃ above pre-industrial levels and to pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5℃”.

However Glikson warned that “the Paris Agreement, being non-binding, is in danger of not being fulfilled by many of the signatories”. The deal will not enter into force until it is ratified by 55 nations accounting for at least 55% of the world’s greenhouse emissions.

Glikson called for action to “transition from carbon-emitting technologies to alternative clean energy as fast as possible, and focus technology on draw-down (sequestration) of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere”.

Australia’s current greenhouse gas target, which it took to December’s Paris climate summit, calls for emissions to be reduced by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. It has been widely criticised by experts as not ambitious enough.

Andrew Blakers, professor of engineering at the Australian National University, said Australia could reduce emissions by two-thirds by 2030 “at negligible cost”.

He said the falling cost of renewable energy, particularly solar and wind, the replacement of gas with electricity for heating, and the advent of electric vehicles would eliminate most emissions. Solar and wind installation, currently at 1 gigawatt each year, would need to be increased to 2.5 gigawatts each year to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.

Remaining emissions, from shipping, aviation, and industry, could be eliminated after 2030 at slightly higher costs.

Lesley Hughes, a member of the Climate Council and professor at Macquarie University, said there were a number of factors causing the gap between science and policy, including vested interests, perception of economic downsides of climate action, ideological biases, and inertia in the system from current investment in fossil fuels. But she said the “most important issue” was the difficulty in convincing people to act to reduce risk decades in the future.

The Climate Change Authority, which advises the government on climate policy, in 2014 recommended Australia adopt a target of 40-60% below 2000 levels by 2030.

In a report released yesterday, The Climate Institute highlighted that aiming for 1.5℃ instead of 2℃ would avoid longer heatwaves and droughts, and give the Great Barrier Reef a better chance of survival.

The institute recommended that Australia adopt an emissions reduction target of 65% below 2005 levels by 2030 and phase out coal power by 2035.

Source: The Conversation. Reproduced with permission.

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6 Comments
  1. MaxG 3 years ago

    The government thinks: “who cares!” — let’s shut up the loud moths by de-funding them… which is well under way. 🙁

  2. howardpatr 3 years ago

    Turnbull has well and truly demonstrated just how pathetic he is when it come to anthropogenic climate change and the renewable energy future so given his precarious position with the religious right wing conservatives in the LNP he might come to say to the likes of Abbott that agree with the position of Senator “emperical evidence” Roberts

  3. john 3 years ago

    It is rather concerning when scientists get together and send a message to anyone let alone the government.
    One must stand back and consider perhaps these people are sufficiently motivated by the findings that they have to speak out.
    The present situation where over 40 years of FUD has the sway of the population has to be the main reason that political parties will not move toward the type of simple solutions that are available.
    Who among the political leaders will have the understanding of the legacy of this present generation, that will be given to their descendants, and has the understanding and fortitude to do something positive?
    I guess the country has direct action.
    Good yes, that is basically the programs that were in place.
    What other programs do we have?
    Reducing the REC is definitely not one.
    Time to actually put in place policies that the grandchildren will feel proud of not ashamed of.

  4. GlennM 3 years ago

    Unfortunately Turnbull has his fingers in his ears and is saying loudly “la La La La I can’t hear you !!. It is brave of these well educated and trained scientists to speak out so loudly to the Spanish inquisitor, expect their head to be cut off very soon.

    The ONLY thing Aussie Politicians like is “Money and Power”.

    We need to somehow get these messages “outside” our Choir and into the mass media..I have no Idea how to do that. When a politician see’s his power depending on “liking RE and not Coal he will flip faster than Simone Boles in a floor routine.

  5. Daniel 3 years ago

    “Solar and wind installation, currently at 1 gigawatt each year, would need to be increased to 2.5 gigawatts each year to reach 100% renewable energy by 2030.”

    Well 2.5 gigawatts divided by Australia’s population of 25 million
    = 2500 000 000 divided by 25 000 000
    = 100 Watts of solar panels pa extra for each of us.

    I’m a little frustrated because I easily got 1500 watts on my smallest middle building, though my house has a solar hot water system in the middle of my best roof. So rather than throw that out or move it, I’m thinking of building a covered deck on the middle building. A solar panel is about a meter wide and I was thinking of a 4M deck so thats another 4 solar panels multiplied by 250 watts+ = another 1000 watts. In theory that would be my quota for 10 years, though ethically I guess I should budget for all 3 persons here, so 1000 watts enables this property to pull its weight for 3.3 years.

    The drama is more getting each roof ready as 1000 watts will probably cost about $1000 including a 6mm2 cable and some PV rack. A Solar Charge Controller looks like its $420 on eBay. A couple PV isolators and a DC circuit breaker brings the whole total up to $1500. I’ve got some conduit leftover from before and have a cordless drill so looks like $1500 will do the job. No additional parts needed to add another array as it just connects to the existing battery bank.

    So the hardest issue is building the covered deck.

  6. Daniel 3 years ago

    Scientists supplying their data to politicians driven by ideology and business interests

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