IPCC climate report - Australia and Queensland already facing big temperature increases which means Queensland’s new Climate Action Plan 2030 must act rapidly

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth Assessment Report released today shows that global temperatures have already increased by 1.1 degrees Celsius, with land areas in Australia warming by 1.4 degrees. It forecasts that without strong action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, global temperatures could reach 5 degrees by the end of this century. 

This means that Australia is already nearing the dangerous 1.5 degree threshold, and is a harrowing warning for our extreme-weather prone state that has experienced unprecedented bushfires, drought and flooding over the last few years. 

Queensland Conservation Council (QCC) Director, Dave Copeman, says that this report makes it clear that the Federal Government’s inaction on climate change is endangering not just the Great Barrier Reef, but all Australian communities. 

“If not this report from an internationally renowned panel, then what kind of evidence does the Australian Government need to finally act in line with the science-based, internationally adopted Paris Agreement Climate goals that it has nominally signed up to?” Mr Copeman said. 

“We have learnt the hard way the cost of ignoring science in the Federal Government’s mis-management of Australia’s COVID crisis. The Federal Government must stop making the same mistake with climate change.” 

The report outlines the action required on both a federal and state level, particularly as Queensland has the highest emissions in Australia.  QCC says that IPCC’s warning means the Queensland Government must rapidly escalate its action to reduce emissions. 

“Less than two weeks ago the Queensland Government launched its Climate Action Plan 2030, forming a cabinet sub committee tasked to reduce emissions, led by the Premier. We believe this IPCC report clearly demonstrates the urgency by which this cabinet climate committee must act,” Mr Copeman said. 

“The most important and obvious action has to be phasing out coal fired power by 2030. We have the technology to switch to renewables and storage. Now we have further evidence of the risk of a delayed transition,” Mr Copeman said.  

“Dangerously, the Queensland Government is still wasting time investigating rebuilding Callide C4, which would lock Queensland into an explosive and increasingly unreliable coal-fired future. The IPCC report presents a stark reality but it is also a source of hope if it’s the wake up call the Queensland Government needs to commit to action on climate, starting with a transition away from coal”. 

More Information - What the report means for Queensland and Australia:

  1. It will be much hotter. Temperatures are already 1.44C higher than 1910. They are forecast to rise another 1C-3.5C over the next 60-80 years, depending on emissions. This will increase incidents of extreme heat (35C) by 50-100% and 40C by 200%
  2. Sea levels will rise between 40cm and 90cm over the next 60-80 years.
  3. Coasts will erode away along our beaches. Under current climate change trajectory, “by mid-century, sandy shorelines will retreat (relative to 2010) by between 50 m and 80 m all around Australasia”
  4. There is medium confidence of more droughts, and less winter and spring rains in Eastern Australia above 2C. 
  5. There will be increased extreme fire risk in Australia 
  6. More river flooding is likely above 2C, and storm surges will be higher and more frequent 

Full IPCC Sixth Assessment Report resources here