Tuesday 24th November 2015 - 7:31 am

Take a lead in Paris:scientists say

by Alan Thornhill

Australian scientists are urging the Turnbull government to take a lead at the world climate change talks which open in Paris this week.


The Australian Academy of Science says this – and global co-operation – will be essential if we are to avoid the worst effects of global climate change.


Delegates from more than 190 countries are heading to Paris this week in an attempt to reach an agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and limit global warming.

In a statement today, the Academy’s President Professor Andrew Holmes urged world governments to take note of the scientific evidence and the implications of inaction.

“The science is clear, we need to move to net zero carbon emissions by the second half of this century to avoid serious impacts on our health, our economies and on our environment.



“Paris will be a critical turning point along the path to a carbon neutral world,” Professor Holmes said.
“Australia has an important responsibility, as one of the world’s biggest per capita emitters, to show leadership at this important moment in history.


“As the world’s twelfth largest economy, we also have the capacity to do our fair share.
“Australia has some of the best climate scientists in the world and a wealth of expertise in clean energy; we have the opportunity to play a leading role,” Professor Holmes added.
“The national commitments so far are promising and Australia’s own post-2030 targets are an important start but now is not the time for complacency.


“We must understand that the only sustainable long-term goal is net zero-emissions and the risks are too great to keep on our current high emissions path.”


In a submission to the Australian government in May, the Academy recommended cuts in greenhouse gas emissions 30 to 40 per cent below 2000 levels by 2030.


An attempt by Australia to take a lead at the Paris talks would be likely to have high impact.


That’s because of the record of previous Australian leaders, including Tony Abbott, of dismissing climate change science.


The Coalition’s approach to tackling climate change, by subsidising big polluters, in an attempt to persuade them to change their ways, hasn’t impressed climate change scientists either.


Nor has the willingness of government MPs to speak up for the coal lobby in parliament.


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Alan Thornhill

Alan Thornhill is a parliamentary press gallery journalist.
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