Why 2030 — not 2050 — is the crucial time frame: We need zero emissions at emergency speed.
“Mobilising for zero emissions by 2030 is critical. A 2050 timeframe will not prevent catastrophic outcomes. Long-term targets are an excuse for procrastination. That has been the history of international climate policy-making. The short term is crucial: what we do now and before 2030 matters, not aspirations about 2050.”
The underestimation of the seriousness of the climate reality today poses grave consequences for the future safety, health and well-being of our societies, the capacity of governments to protect the people, and regional and global stability.
The resource paper Climate Reality Check 2020 draws together current climate research from around the world to present 20 critical observations, insights and understandings to help inform and guide the stark choices that now stand before us.
When climate risks are so high, short term actions matter most
Scientists say that the evidence from tipping points alone suggests that “we are in a state of planetary emergency: both the risk and urgency of the situation are acute… If damaging tipping cascades can occur and a global tipping point cannot be ruled out, then this is an existential threat to civilization”.
And they warn that we might already have lost control of whether tipping happens. That risk requires our immediate and undivided attention, because everything is at stake.
The short term matters most. Kicking the can down the road to 2050 is the wrong focus.
Advice from the United Nations chief: “Take climate risks into account in all financial and policy decisions.”
“Australia does not need any new polluting fossil fuels. Coal and gas are expensive, polluting and a poor public investment. Only a renewables-led future makes economic sense. Propping up failing fossil fuels is a waste of taxpayers’ money.” ~ Greg Bourne, Climate Councillor and former ARENA Chair. ARENA is a federal government body facilitating innovation and commercialisation of renewable energy technologies