IPCC report shows Australian targets a sham
By Chris McGrath, Brisbane barrister and Climate Project presenter
Malcolm Turnbull and Peter Garrett both claim vindication on climate change from the synthesis report released by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Both are wrong.
Labor has a policy of reducing Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions by 60% by 2050 compared with year 2000 emissions.
The Liberals have attacked this target as “likely to damage the economy”. They refuse to state their own target for emissions but this must logically be less onerous than Labor’s.
The central difficulty for both Labor and the Liberals in claiming vindication from the latest IPCC report is it indicates a 60% reduction in emissions by 2050 will be inadequate to protect our most valuable environmental assets such as the Great Barrier Reef.
Turnbull and Garrett do not say their policies will not protect the Great Barrier Reef. On the contrary, both parties have policies aimed at building “resilience” in the reef by reducing pollution and fishing pressure to protect it from climate change.
But realising their policies make the destruction of the reef virtually inevitable is simply a case of “join the dots” in the IPCC report.
The IPCC states that “increases in sea surface temperature of about 1-3°C are projected to result in more frequent coral bleaching events and widespread mortality, unless there is thermal adaptation or acclimatisation by corals.” There is little evidence that adaptation or acclimatisation by corals will save them.
With the Earth already nearing a global temperature rise of 1°C and no signs of this rise abating, it is obvious why the IPCC also anticipates for Australia “by 2020, significant loss of biodiversity is projected to occur in some ecologically rich sites including the Great Barrier Reef”.
The IPCC believes a 60% reduction in global greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, compared with year 2000 emissions, would put the world on track to stabilise global average temperature rises around 2.4°C.
Labor’s policy of Australia reducing our national emissions by 60% by 2050 is putting us on track to global temperature rises that will severely damage or destroy the Great Barrier Reef – yet the Liberals think even this level of emissions reduction is too onerous.
As a young boy growing up in the Whitsunday region of North Queensland snorkeling and fishing on the Great Barrier Reef I could not imagine that within my own lifetime this wonderful treasure would be severely damaged or lost.
To me, the lie in both Turnbull and Garrett’s position is they must know what the science is saying but play dumb. That is worse than hypocritical. Both are shams.