James Whitmore and colleagues write in The Conversation (24.8.16) about a new Climate Insitute report which examines the impacts of rising global temperatures, and what could be achieved in Australia from minimising the extent of temperature rise.
‘Australia could avoid punishingly long heatwaves and boost the Great Barrier Reef’s chances of survival by helping to limit global warming to 1.5℃ rather than 2℃, according to a report released by the Climate Institute today.
‘Australia, along with 179 other countries, has formally signed the Paris Climate Agreement. The deal, which has not yet come into force, commits nations to limit Earth’s warming to “well below 2℃” and to aim for 1.5℃ beyond pre-industrial temperatures.
‘The new research, compiled by the international agency Climate Analytics, suggests that limiting global warming to 1.5℃ rather than letting it reach 2℃ could make a significant difference to the severity of extreme weather events in Australia. Heatwaves in southern Australia would be an average of five days shorter, and the hottest days a degree cooler. In the north, hot spells would be 20-30 days shorter than the 60-day heatwaves potentially in store if warming hits 2℃.
‘Australia’s current climate target under the Paris Agreement is 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. Labor has proposed a 45% target, and the Greens zero or negative emissions within a generation.
‘Australia will review its climate policies in 2017, ahead of the first global stocktake of nations’ Paris Agreement targets in 2018.’