PM not swayed by major climate report

Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack

Deputy Prime Minister Michael

The Council adopted conclusions on climate change that emphasize the unprecedented urgency, which is needed to step up global efforts to avoid the unsafe effects of climate change.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said on Monday he would consider the report, but maintained Australia is satisfied with meeting its targets under the Paris Agreement.

That message was underlined in this week's landmark report from the IPCC, which warns that to protect the world from the direst impacts of global warming renewables will have to account for 70-85% of global power supplies by 2050, while coal's share will need to be near zero.

It's therefore likely that the scenario now being played out in Europe will be extended to other parts of the world, with coal-fired power being replaced by a combination of renewables, battery storage, gas-fired back-up and even nuclear.

Her government has also approved new fossil fuel projects, including last week's $40-billion liquefied natural gas plant in British Columbia, which will increase emissions from the energy sector.

The report comes as Canada is embroiled in a new round of political arguments about the best way to proceed, with the federal Liberals' planned national price on carbon being challenged by a growing number of provincial governments.

If average world temperatures increase by between 1.5ºC and 2°C, potentially deadly heatwaves are likely to substantially increase (pdf) in frequency, and those similar to the one in 2015 could become an annual occurrence in India and Pakistan, says the report, putting coastal cities such as Karachi and Kolkata at high risk. Even that more modest goal is out of reach for now despite plans such as the controversial national carbon price, making buildings more energy efficient and eliminating coal as a source of electricity by 2030.

"Hanging on to coal is reckless and very risky because it will fuel global warming".

McCormack said he recognizes the concerns laid out in the IPCC report.

The planet is nowhere near shifting with sufficient speed from its consumption of fossil fuels to renewables to forestall the most catastrophic impacts of climate change. Furthermore, if we managed to shave off that extra 0.5 of a degree, the world would still be on the way to flooded coastlines, intense droughts and heat, and the loss of many industries. "We're seeing deeper and more severe and more frequent drought, which is already playing havoc on our agriculture production systems".

He said: "This century is the first when one species - man - is sufficiently dominant that it can affect the future of the entire planet". Coal is also Australia's largest export, according to McCormack.

Australia is the world's driest inhabited continent. She said LNG is part of the solution because it emits less than burning coal for electricity, and if LNG is going to be used she would rather it be Canadian LNG.

"Australia is enabling the kind of climate pollution that the world scientists are now telling us we've got to stop".

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