Runaway climate change concern – WWF

WWF, the global conservation organisation, has grave concerns following yesterday’s announcements at the AP6 meeting in Sydney that the Howard Government is willing to accept runaway climate change.

The Prime Minister’s office today stated that the Asia Pacific Partnership on Clean Development and Climate would lead to 20% less greenhouse gas emissions than would otherwise be the case by 2050, based on analysis by the Australian Bureau of Agriculture and Resource Economics (ABARE).

What is not being said is that the Abare Report shows global emissions will in fact increase by 100 per cent by 2050 under the Partnership plan, when climate scientists are calling for emissions to halve.

A 100 per cent increase in global greenhouse gas emissions, as allowed under the new Partnership plan, would lock the world into a four-degree rise in average global surface temperatures

A four-degree rise in temperatures would wreak havoc on infrastructure and the natural environment.

In Australia this would result in the destruction of our natural icons, including World Heritage sites such as Kakadu, the Great Barrier Reef and the Daintree rainforest. Global warming of this magnitude would also place untenable pressure on the country’s healthcare and emergency response systems as more people are affected by heat-related diseases, cyclones, bushfires and other freak weather patterns.

The Australian Medical Association yesterday said that by the year 2100 up to 15,000 Australians could die every year from heat related illnesses and the dengue transmission zone could reach as far south as Brisbane and Sydney if emissions continue to increase.

“In my whole business career, I have never seen a more misleading public statement as that made by Prime Minister John Howard today,” said WWF-Australia CEO Greg Bourne.

“If the statements made today become a reality, this will lock us in to a four-degree rise in global average temperatures, when two-degrees is considered extremely dangerous,” he said.

“There couldn’t be anything more irresponsible than to knowingly embark on a path towards massive increases in emissions and runaway global warming.”

The only way to avoid dangerous climate change is for the world to agree on a plan to reduce emissions. The Kyoto Protocol is the only global treaty to do this.

WWF urges the United States and Australia to join the 148 countries that are working on effective emissions reductions under the Kyoto Protocol.

Source: WWF-Australia