The latest scientific research on climate change confirms our worst fears. Climate change is happening faster than we previously thought, creating a more serious threat to our economy, our environment and to future generations.
I recently returned from a meeting of leaders of the world’s major developed and developing countries in Italy, where our discussions focused on our global efforts to tackle climate change. This meeting – the Major Economies Forum on Climate and Energy – made some important progress. In particular, it recognised the clear message from climate science that the increase in global average temperature must not exceed 2 degrees celsius. That means the international community is accepting the need for tough long-term targets on reducing carbon emissions.
For anyone not following Australian politics, this is a huge step up from our last Prime Minister John Howard, who somewhat famously said “I accept that climate change is a challenge, I accept the broad theory about global warming. I am sceptical about a lot of the more gloomy predictions” (shortly before he was voted out of office). Great to see mention of our research here, too!
The Great Barrier Reef – one of Australia’s most iconic natural wonders which generates jobs for around 60,000 people and more than $4.9 billion in tourism revenue – is particularly vulnerable to climate change.