IPCC calls for swift action on climate change  

UN body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), has released a report showing that taking control of the global problem of carbon emissions and the damage to our atmosphere would cost as little as 0.06% of annual growth. More than 800 experts contributed to the report that calls for swift action on climate change.

Apart from the benefits of stabilising the energy networks and improving air quality, we would avoid the devastating impact that extreme weather occurrences cause as a result of worsening climate change. Limiting global warming to less than two degrees by the end of the century will rely on a combination of renewable sources like wind and solar being deployed in vast quantities along with the advancement of carbon sequestering technologies.

Early data from the report was used selectively edited, with publications like The Australia printing articles about the prospect of global warming leading to fewer deaths as a result of extreme cold. Another headline reported that the cost would be as high as 10% of GDP.

US Secretary of State John Kerry has used to official release of the report to remark on its findings.

“We already know that climate science is unambiguous and that every year the world defers action, the costs only grow. But focusing only on grim realities misses promising realities staring us right in the face. This report makes very clear we face an issue of global willpower, not capacity,” said Kerry.

It all spells bad news for Prime Minister Tony Abbott. Having surrounded himself with self-confessed climate sceptics, and being cricitised on the global stage for slashing renewable energy funding he now risks falling on the wrong side of history.

Dr Frank Jotzo from Australian National University says Australia is the envy of the world in terms of energy options.

“Australia is one of the developed countries most at risk from climate change impacts,” he said, adding that we are one of the few countries “in the enviable situation not just to have fossil fuels in abundance but also to have zero carbon energy source in abundance.”

So while we have the luxury of taking our time on these matters, we will also be among the hardest hit if there are negative consequences.