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Cut Your Ties

Climate Change is real, and fossil fuels are largely to blame

Despite the opinions of some commentators and media outlets, there is no longer any serious debate about the reality of human-caused climate change, or the need to take urgent and effective action. There is broad and close to unanimous agreement that it is necessary to rapidly cut fossil fuel use, reduce global emissions and fully decarbonise by 2050 or earlier, in order to give us a reasonable chance of not significantly exceeding 1.5 degrees C of warming.

 

The following is only a sample of the Australian and international government departments, institutions and companies that have issued strong statements on global warming and the need to cut ties with fossil fuels.

 

  • The Department of Agriculture: a recent report on the impact of climate change on Australian farms estimated a cost due to the current effects of climate change of A$1.1billion per annum (this was prior to the current 2019/20 drought and fires)

 

  • The Reserve Bank of Australia: The RBA has warned changing weather patterns could lead to some risks becoming uninsurable.

 

  • The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation: The CSIRO state of the climate report documents a significant decrease in rainfall in southeast Australia, sea level rise and long term increase in extreme fire weather.

 

  • The Australian Medical Association: AMA has joined other health organisations around the world – including the American Medical Association, the British Medical Association, and Doctors for the Environment Australia – in recognising climate change as a health emergency.

 

  • The Australian Defence Force: The 2016 Defence White Paper  identifies climate change as a contributing factor to a number of security issues, such as state fragility and the undermining of economic development in our immediate region. The White Paper also expects that Australia may be called on to conduct more humanitarian and disaster relief operations.

 

  • Engineers Australia: In its submission to the Department of Environment and Energy (2017), EA stated that “the influence of anthropogenic climate change can have very serious environmental and community consequences … Engineers Australia encourages national greenhouse gas emission reduction targets to be pursued to enable transition to renewable and sustainable energy, water, transport, industry and agriculture systems.

 

 

  • The World Health Organisation: In 2015, the World Health Organisation rated climate change as “the greatest threat to global health in the 21st Century”

 

  • The US Director of National Intelligence, in the  Worldwide Threat Assessment  added to a swelling chorus of scientific and national security voices in pointing out the ways climate change fuels widespread insecurity and erodes America's ability to respond to it

 

  • The Pentagon: A Pentagon report identifies significant risks from climate change at scores of military bases

 

  • National Science Academies: Since 2001, 34 national science academies, three regional academies, and both the international InterAcademy Council and International Council of Academies of Engineering and Technological Sciences have made formal declarations confirming human induced global warming and urging nations to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases.

For example, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (the world's largest general scientific society), adopted an official statement on climate change in 2006: “The scientific evidence is clear: global climate change caused by human activities is occurring now, and it is a growing threat to society....The pace of change and the evidence of harm have increased markedly over the last five years. The time to control greenhouse gas emissions is now”

 

 

Similarly, hardly any major business in the world does not officially acknowledge the reality of human-caused climate change, and the need for urgent action. Even fossil fuel companies accept this – though some continue to work behind the scenes to undermine effective global action. Here is a small sample.

 

 

  • Banks: Goldman Sachs acknowledges the scientific consensus, led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, that climate change is a reality and that human activities are responsible for increasing concentrations of greenhouse gases in the earth’s atmosphere. Goldman Sachs recently announced plans to spend $750 billion on climate transition projects and curb fossil fuel lending.

 

  • Australian businesses: The Carbon Market Institute’s Australian Climate Policy Survey for 2019 reveals that 96% of Australian business and industry respondents  agree that Australia should set an economy wide net zero emissions target by 2050

 

 

  • Fossil fuel producers: BP accepts the reality of climate change and calls for a price on carbon.  Shell acknowledges the link between greenhouse gas emissions, climate change and more extreme weather conditions linked to climate change – such as flooding and water shortages caused by droughts.

 

Fossil fuel companies have long known about the link between CO2 and global warming. For example, in 1988, an internal report by Shell  found that CO2 concentrations could double even by 2030. The research confirmed the connections between their products, global warming, and ecological calamity. Similarly, a  1982 Memo to Exxon Management about  CO2 and the greenhouse effect estimates that doubling of the current (as of 1982) CO2 concentration could increase average global temperature by about 1.3 degrees celsius to 3.1 degrees celsius.​

  • Agritech businesses: Bayer supports the Paris climate accord and is committed to tackling climate change. Monsanto states ‘Climate change is one of the most pressing challenges facing humanity. Farmers in particular may be impacted by its effects, which include drought, extreme heat, severe weather events, shifting climatic trends, flooding, and compromised harvests.’ Syngenta aims to reduce the carbon intensity of its operations by at least 50% by 2030, and supports the goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change.