Business joins science to rescue the climate
An unprecedented alliance of commercial and scientific experts has formed the Australian Climate Group (ACG) which today launched its first report, Climate Change: Solutions for Australia. The Report is designed to guide public opinion and government policy towards a solution to the issues of climate change.
For the first time, a group of this kind is recommending a dramatic cut in Australia's greenhouse gases by 60 percent by 2050, and an emissions trading scheme by 2007. The ACG's advice challenges the current plans of Australian governments to leave similar cuts in greenhouse emissions until the end of this century.
The Group, convened by WWF-Australia and Insurance Australia Group (IAG) was formed in response to the threat climate change poses to our way of life and the need for urgent action.
Members of the group include: a top United Nations health and climate change expert; a lead author of the scientific reports that advise the world's governments; the former Chief Environmental Scientist for BHP; the chair of a World Bank initiative on coral bleaching; an executive scientist from CSIRO; a winner of the Prime Minister's Environment Award; and the Chief Risk Officer of Australia's leading general insurance group.
The ACG demonstrates how global warming is already affecting Australia. Our country is vulnerable to even the lowest predicted levels of climate change, levels that now seem inevitable.
Tony Coleman, a member of ACG and Chief Risk Officer for IAG, says we only need to look at recent events to see the effects of climate change.
"City water catchments are drying up. Droughts and bushfires have been more severe, and most of all, the frequency and severity of storms and cyclones have increased," said Mr Coleman.
"But climate change is also an opportunity. If we move now we can seize new business and employment opportunities in the emerging global economy that is growing in response to climate change."
The report by the experts focuses on ways that business, government and communities can help to prevent climate change reaching dangerous and unpredictable levels.
Former Chief of CSIRO's Division of Atmospheric Research, Dr Graeme Pearman, says that each of the ACG's members, in their different professions, sees the growing impact of climate change across our nation.
"Individually, we are deeply concerned by the extent of its impact. We want to see a greater level of understanding and action in confronting this threat to our way of life. It is essential that as a nation we take this issue seriously and act now."
Convenor of the Group, Anna Reynolds from WWF-Australia, says their report represents a clear statement of expert opinion that sets a vision for Australia to become a world leader in greenhouse policy.
"This is valuable advice that should be taken seriously by all political and industry leaders. It sets out the scientific imperative for reducing greenhouse pollution that has not been evident in state and federal government policies to date."
The ACG report outlines six key initiatives to address the problem of climate change:
- REDUCE: Australia's political leaders must take immediate action to set a target to reduce our emissions of greenhouse gases by 60% by 2050.
- TRADE: Establish market mechanisms to trade greenhouse gas emissions, providing the business sector with a powerful tool to meet and exceed reduction targets.
- ACT: All Australians take responsibility for their own role in reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
- ADAPT: Put in place measures to minimise the impacts of the climate warming, from building improvements to deal with more intense storms to investing in new agricultural industries which require less fresh water.
- INNOVATE: New business opportunities must be developed and implemented as the rest of the world moves to low carbon energy futures.
- LEAD: A leadership role must be taken to identify and implement solutions to reducing the impacts of human-induced climate change. As one of the wealthiest and well-educated nations in our region, we can share our innovations and technologies with the nations of Asia Pacific.
The Australian Climate Group officially launched the report at The Sydney Institute on 5 July 2004.Media contacts
Andy Ridley, WWF-Australia
02 8202 1237 / 0415 865 992
Amanda Bryan-Fox, Insurance Australia Group
02 9292 9507 / 0411 014 396
- Tony Coleman, Chief Risk Officer, Insurance Australia Group
- Professor Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, University of Queensland
- Professor David Karoly, University of Oklahoma
- Emeritus Professor Ian Lowe, Griffith University
- Dr Chris Mitchell, CRC for Greenhouse Accounting
- Professor Tony McMichael, National Centre for Epidemiology and Population Health
- Dr Graeme Pearman, CSIRO Atmospheric Research
- Peter Scaife, Centre for Sustainable Technology at Newcastle University
- Anna Reynolds, WWF-Australia