A crystal clear message comes from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change: keeping global warming to a 1.5 degrees rise would save untold damage. Achieving this means rebuilding the world’s energy systems. But decarbonisation will happen even if the 1.5 degrees goal is missed, and it will bring plenty of opportunity for Australia.
To keep temperature rise to 1.5 degrees, the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 45 per cent by 2030, go to net zero emissions by 2050, and suck carbon dioxide from the atmosphere to store or use. Staying below 2 degrees delays the net zero target to 2075, which is much more manageable, if still a big task.
Going to 2 degrees means practically total loss of coral reefs and impacts for sea level rise, more droughts, greater damage from extreme climate events, water, fires, biodiversity, human health and poverty. So it is worthwhile considering moving quickly.
Emissions from industry, agriculture, transport, urban and other systems will all need to decline dramatically. We can do this through increased efficiency, cleaner energy sources and better industrial technologies, better land management and climate-smart agriculture.
Read the full article, written by Professor Mark Howden, Director, ANU Climate Change Institute and Professor Frank Jotzo, Crawford School of Public Policy, orginally published in the Sydney Morning Herald.