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Australia could fall apart under climate change. But there’s a way to avoid it

Ross Garnaut writes in The Conversation (6.11.19) that, if climate action fails, the consequences ‘would be beyond contemporary Australia’ to deal with. However, the eminent economist believes that zero-emissions iron and aluminium processing could be the way forward.

‘Four years ago in December 2015, every member of the United Nations met in Paris and agreed to hold global temperature increases to 2°C, and as close as possible to 1.5°C.

‘The bad news is that four years on the best that we can hope for is holding global increases to around 1.75°C. We can only do that if the world moves decisively towards zero net emissions by the middle of the century.

‘A failure to act here, accompanied by similar paralysis in other countries, would see our grandchildren living with temperature increases of around 4°C this century, and more beyond.

‘I have spent my life on the positive end of discussion of Australian domestic and international policy questions. But if effective global action on climate change fails, I fear the challenge would be beyond contemporary Australia. I fear that things would fall apart.’

The climate change panic button is coming

Alan Kohler writes in The New Daily (19.7.21) that Australia’s troubled COVID-19 vaccine rollout program has important lessons for the nation’s responses to climate change.

‘This week it’s floods in Germany, 170 dead and terrible devastation. A few weeks ago people were dying from the heat in Canada, which reached about 49 degrees Celsius in Lytton, British Columbia. Wildfires are now breaking out across North America.

‘This is from the global warming that has already occurred, which is about 1.2 degrees above the pre-industrial age. The world is now trying to stop it going above 1.5 degrees by getting emissions down to net zero by 2050.

‘Even if we succeed in that, which is far from guaranteed, the extreme weather events will be significantly worse and more frequent than they are now. But at what point will governments hit the real panic button?’

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