Highway to Hell: Climate Change and Australia’s Future


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The latest Quarterly Essay by Joëlle Gergis is Australia’s Biggest Book Club book for June 2024.

Australia is in peril. Do we truly grasp the impact of a warming planet – in particular, what it will mean for the sunburnt country?

In ‘Highway to Hell: Climate Change and Australia’s Future’, leading climate scientist Joëlle Gergis takes aim at the folly of “adaptation” rather than cutting emissions, and at government policy inertia. She shows what rising temperatures will most likely mean for the Australian continent and coastline, and outlines clearly how far Australia is from its most recent promises, let alone what is required.

Join Joëlle for an in-depth conversation on her searing essay with Polly Hemming, Director of the Australia Institute’s Climate and Energy program.

Australia’s Biggest Book Club is brought to you by the Australia Institute.

Guest Author: Dr Joëlle Gergis

Joëlle Gergis is an award-winning climate scientist and writer. She served as a lead author for the IPCC’s Sixth Assessment Report and is the author of ‘Humanity’s Moment: A Climate Scientist’s Case for Hope’ and ‘Sunburnt Country: The history and future of climate change in Australia’. Joëlle also contributed chapters to ‘The Climate Book’ by Greta Thunberg, and ‘Not Too Late: Changing the climate story from despair to possibility’, edited by Rebecca Solnit and Thelma Young Lutunatabua.

Host: Polly Hemming

Polly Hemming is Director of the Australia Institute’s Climate & Energy program. She has extensive experience working in policy, marketing and engagement roles in both not-for-profit and public sectors. Her current work focuses on carbon and environmental markets, climate integrity and greenwashing. Having previously led the development of a government eco-label recognising voluntary climate action by the private sector, she maintains a strong interest in non-state climate ambition and the policies and regulation that interact with this. Polly’s previous roles have included academic publishing, remote Indigenous education, refugee advocacy and science communication, bringing a range of perspectives and experiences to her work.


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