The dire warnings contained in the 2018 report from Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change should make us all sit up and take notice. In stark terms, the IPCC report warns that unless we reduce our greenhouse emissions we will face dire consequences of global warming.
The peer-reviewed scientific analysis says we will see threats to water resources, food security, infrastructure, with billions of people displaced or adversely affected if we continue on our current trajectory.
The consequences of inaction will impact on us internationally, nationally and locally.
Should average temperatures rise by 1.5 degrees, we can expect to have endure droughts, extended bushfire seasons and summer temperatures marching towards 50 degrees.
Global warming will affect us all so it stands to reason we all have to work together to try to slow it down. Not acting will condemn our children, their children and grandchildren to a life that will be increasingly unendurable.
With that realisation dawning on more and more people – and now backed by the world’s leading climate scientists – the time for talk is now being overtaken by the time for action.
Locally, the outcry over Shoalhaven City Council’s decision to step away from action on climate change by disbanding two committees – the Sustainable Futures Committee and the Flood Plain Management Committee – is quite understandable. Residents are keenly aware of the fragile environment in which they live, an environment prone to fire and flood.
Residents are also aware of the rising costs council faces, costs passed on to ratepayers with increasing regularity. A committee that could find ways for council to wean itself off fossil fuels by, for instance, recommending solar panels be placed on the city’s buildings, seems to make perfect sense but not for the majority of councillors, who seem intent on keeping their heads in the sand.
Why wouldn’t the city want to explore ways to not only cut down its energy use but even create a new revenue stream by sending power back into the grid?
With the federal government still fumbling around without a clear climate policy, it’s time for state and local governments to become more vigorous in fighting climate change. The shortsighted decision to disband two important committees looks even more hokey in light of the latest IPCC report.