Expert takes aim at deniers as climate emergency declared
COAST-based leading conservationist Professor Ian Lowe has taken aim at climate change deniers who are "still repeating discredited myths about climate change" and commends Noosa Council's declaration of a climate emergency.
The leading academic and president of the Australian Conservation Foundation said he has been following the science since the 1985 international conference that alerted the world to global warming's dire consequences.
"Over thirty years ago, CSIRO scientists projected the changes we could see by the 2030s if we continued to release increasing quantities of greenhouse gases," Prof Lowe said.
These included rising temperatures, more "very hot days", changing rainfall patterns, rising sea levels, stronger cyclones, changing habitat ranges and worse bushfire seasons.
"All of the projected changes are happening now. It is true that climate change is an international problem and demands a global approach.
"That is the exact point of the 2015 Paris agreement.
"Every country has to cut back. While we only account for about 1.5 per cent of global emissions, we are only about 0.3 per cent of the world population, so we are among the worst in the world for pollution per person or per unit of economic output."
Prof Lowe said Australia's export of huge amounts of coal and gas produces nearly as much carbon dioxide "as all our domestic energy use"
"So we need a concerted approach. Unfortunately, the Commonwealth Government is letting us down badly. They scrapped their National Energy Guarantee, which was at least a start on cleaning up our electricity supply.
"There are no policies at all to curb our emissions from transport, manufacturing, agriculture or waste," he said.
Prof Lowe said Government was still encouraging export of fossil fuels like coal as the world is moving rapidly to cleaner energy systems.
"As the Chief Scientist said a few years ago, we have no serious plan to meet our commitment under the Paris agreement. So it is heartening to see responsible local authorities, like Noosa Council, stepping up to the challenge," Prof Lowe said.
Zero Emission Noosa's Vivien Griffin wants a wide-scale local approach: "Up until now Noosa Council has had a major focus on its own emissions, and that is a worthwhile thing to do.
"However, emissions from the Noosa community total nearly 500,000 carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e) tonnes, with the big chunks coming from transport and electricity.
"Council's own operations total less than 50,000 CO2e tonnes. Genuine action by Noosa Council on tackling this climate emergency must now lead to a greater focus on community emissions." Ms Griffin said.