‘The science is clear. It’s over to you now’: IPCC Report

“The new IPCC report on climate Impacts paints a dire picture of the reality of climate change now and the limits available to adapt to a warming world. The best response remains rapid emissions reductions while cushioning the impacts through greater research and spending on adaptation.

“It’s unbelievable and irresponsible that after all the devastating fires, floods and droughts the federal government has never undertaken a national risk assessment to better understand and prepare for climate change impacts.

“The UN climate framework outlines how to prepare for climate impacts through risk assessments and adaptation plans. While the majority of countries have adopted these plans, the Australian Government refuses to do so and pushes this overwhelming responsibility onto state and local governments, leading to confusion and maladaptation.

“One can only assume the Australian Government avoids modeling the potential costs and impacts of climate change because the findings would compel it to take action and significantly increase its climate target and halt new fossil fuel projects.

“This head in the sand approach to addressing the impacts of climate change means it is disaster effected communities who ultimately pay the price.”

“Despite spending the majority of its foreign climate aid on helping other countries adapt to climate change, referred to as Climate Resilient Development in the report, the Australian government spends very little on its own adaptation planning.

“Prime Minister Morrison, as the then Treasurer axed funding in 2017 to Australia’s world-leading National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility, leading to a further decrease in our capacity to understand and respond to mounting climate impacts,” Mr Merzian said.

The IPCC’s Working Group 2 report is the second installment of the Sixth Assessment report (AR6), and assesses the latest science on climate change impacts, adaptation and vulnerability. Adaptation has historically been the poor cousin to climate change mitigation. Adaptation is a crucial part of climate action because climate change is currently on the trajectory for more than the 2 degree global warming limit that countries have agreed to work towards.

Background on how Australians/Australian Governments deal with climate impacts

Australia as a nation has not done its homework in dealing with climate impacts

  • Australia does not have a national adaptation plan nor has it ever undertaken a national climate risk assessment – despite these documents being prescribed by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
  • More than 7 in 10 (71%) of OECD nations have adopted climate adaptation plans or policies
    106 countries have fulfilled Paris Agreement requirements to adopt a national climate adaptation plan or policy
  • Australia’s National Recovery and Resilience Agency (NRRA) does not mention ‘climate change’ in its 26-page strategic direction and the National Climate Resilience and Adaptation Strategy (NCRAS) is misleading by discussing Australia’s natural climate instead of human-induced climate change

Climate impacts

  • Eight in ten Australians (82%) are concerned that climate change will result in more bushfires, up from 76% in 2019
  • When it comes to warming – extreme heat kills more people in Australia than all other natural disasters combined
  • Impacts work productivity – NSW Treasury modelling shows that under a high emissions scenario, NSW could lose up to 2.7 million working days per year by 2061
  • Take one of the most populated and fastest growing parts of the country – Western Sydney – and extreme heat days over 35C are projected to increase five-fold within the lifetimes of young people living today
  • This means that places like Penrith in Western Sydney could experience up to two months of extreme heat (over 35C) per year
  • However, state and federal government action in line with international efforts to curb rising emissions could help limit the number of extreme heat days to less than 22 days per year

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