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Global Climate Report Underscores Australian Inaction

By Ian Lowe

The upcoming Federal election has produced a spectrum of responses to curb climate change.

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With a national election imminent, climate change is on the political agenda again. Shortly before the date for the poll was announced, the World Meteorological Organization released its annual Statement on the State of the Global Climate.

The new statement is truly alarming. It documents increasing average temperatures, more extreme weather-related events such as heatwaves, cyclones and wildfires, accelerating sea level rise, shrinking sea-ice and retreat of glaciers. As the United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres says, the data in the report “give cause for great concern”.

Just one example leaped out at me. Greenland has lost 3600 km3 of ice since 2002. That works out at about three-quarters of a cubic kilometre of ice melting every day, on average, contributing to the increasing rate of sea level rise. “There is no longer any time for delay,” Guterres added, calling for urgent international action to slow down the release of greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane.

The major political parties have produced a spectrum of responses. The Greens called for a speedy transition of electricity supply, phasing out coal-fired power by 2030 in favour of 100% renewables. The ALP’s climate change policy aims to reduce Australia’s total 2030 emissions by 45%. The Coalition’s target is 26–28%, but its only hope of reaching that less...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.