The costs of inaction on climate change far outweigh the costs of cutting pollution.
In response to more selective modelling being used by the Coalition to attack even modest policy proposals to cut climate pollution, the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF) has pointed to some basic facts on the real costs of climate change.
- The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) and CSIRO have stated that: Australia has warmed more than one degree since 1910; our oceans have warmed by a similar amount; in recent decades rainfall has declined across southern Australia; and there has been an increase in extreme fire weather and the length of the fire season across large parts of Australia.
- BoM observations show Australia just had its hottest summer on record, with mean temperatures 2.1 degrees above average. This smashed the previous record (in 2012-13) of 1.28 degrees above average. Nine of the last ten years have been hotter than average.
- According to the BoM Australia also just experienced its hottest March on record, with mean temperatures 2.13 degrees above average.
- The Federal Government’s top Great Barrier Reef officials have warned our natural icon will virtually collapse if global warming exceeds 1.5 degrees. Up to half of the Great Barrier Reef’s coral died in back-to-back mass bleaching events in 2016 and 2017.
- The Federal Government’s own data shows Australian climate pollution has been rising since 2015. In the year-to-September 2018 our climate pollution rose 0.9 per cent.
- The Federal Government’s own projections show with existing policies Australia will miss even the weak pollution reduction targets it has set under the Paris Agreement.
- The Lancet medical journal has demonstrated the most vulnerable in our society – including the elderly, young, sick and pregnant – are most likely to suffer health impacts from climate change.
- Institutions like the OECD and Economist Intelligence Unit have found the cost of inaction on climate change far outweighs the cost of cutting pollution. A recent peer-reviewed study in Nature found the cost of damage from CO2 emissions in 2017 was $US16 trillion.
- The Reserve Bank of Australia’s Deputy Governor, Guy Debelle, recently said climate change risks Australia’s financial stability.
- The Lowy Institute has found the majority of Australians want action on climate change and recognise ‘we should begin taking steps now even if this involves significant costs.’ Around 84 per cent support increases in renewable energy over continued use of coal.
In response to the latest ‘carbon cost’ scare campaign, ACF’s Climate Change Program Manager, Gavan McFadzean, said:
“Do we really need another round of partisan political rubbish and dodgy modelling on climate change policy? Is three decades of this nonsense not enough?
“Australians are suffering from climate damage right now. We just had our hottest summer on record. We had unprecedented bushfires devastate forests in Queensland and Tasmania that were previously considered too wet to burn. We’ve had worsening drought across large swathes of eastern Australia. And a million fish died in the Darling River.
“A good government would act responsibly and implement a comprehensive climate change strategy that sensibly exits our country from coal burning, accelerates clean energy and drives us towards a pollution free-economy by 2050 while looking after workers and communities.
“Political leaders that argue against strong climate policy knowingly inflict more climate damage – including worse heatwaves, drought and bushfires – on the communities they claim to represent. They are putting people’s lives at risk.”