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“The world is on fire”: Greenpeace on UN climate change report

Greenpeace responds to the UN’s warning of significant consequences if climate change continues to be left unchecked

Environment groups have responded to scientists warnings that “unprecedented changes” are needed to prevent world temperatures rising and the catastrophic consequences.

The United Nation’s Intergovernmental Plan on Climate Change (IPCC) report made reference to more than 6,000 scientific studies that indicate that if nothing is done, 2C will lead to more heatwaves and rainstorms, water shortages, economic losses and lower yields for crops.

Executive Director of Greenpeace International, Jennifer Morgan, said: “The world is on fire. In order to avoid more of these tragic fires, severe storms and loss of life, the world must halve global emissions in the next decade.

“This is a huge challenge, but it is doable and the costs of not following the right path are a matter of life and death to millions around the world, particularly the vulnerable.”

Environment Minister, Melissa Price, said the report showed climate change will affect reefs across the world, and the federal government will consider the study as part of an ongoing review of Australia’s contribution to global action on climate change.

Price also reaffirmed the Morrison government’s commitment to the Paris agreement that aims to reduce emissions by 26 per cent by 2030 based on 2005 levels. The Prime Minister insisted that Australia would meet its emissions reduction target.

“Australia accounts for just over one per cent of global emissions, so there are a lot of bigger players than us out there impacting on these arrangements,” Morrison said.

However, the report found that promises made by countries to cut their emissions will not limit global warming to 1.5C even if caution is massively scaled up after the end of 2030.

Greenpeace Australia Pacific Head of Campaigns, Jamie Hanson, said: “If this isn’t a wake-up call, nothing is. If Scott Morrison, Bill Shorten, and their state colleagues really give stuff about our Pacific neighbours, or indeed about our low-lying coastal cities, which are in the firing line too, then they’ll get their acts together, or get us off fossil fuels.”

Co-author of the report, Hans-Otto Portner, said it will be a challenge for human civilisation but warns the planet will go into “unprecedented climate future” if action is not taken.

“The scale of all the changes that we are experiencing in the climate system is unprecedented, the scale of the changes that humans would have to implement in order to keep climate change under control is unprecedented,” he said.

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