• Strength in numbers. The Paris Agreement is a treaty consisting of 196 countries who have committed to combat climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C with the aim of getting it to sit at 1.5°C!
  • Despite the target deadline of 2050, the current rate of adherence to this deal indicates that in twenty years' time, the first threshold will have been missed; but all is not lost! 

    The scientific community believes that these targets can still be reached, providing countries such as Australia, the opportunity to make greater strides in their efforts to transform consumption habits. 

Give Or Take A Degree, What’s The Big Deal?

Making an impact! The impact of earth’s temperature rising above 2°C has multitudinous effects on every living thing. The consequences for ecosystems - particularly those which rely on coral reefs - will be devastating. 

Looking closer to home, Australia’s own Great Barrier Reef (one of the most biodiverse and complex ecosystems on the planet!) is already suffering from the effects of global warming and a lack of environmental care. 

So, how are oceans like the Great Barrier Reef affected? Well, the ocean bears the brunt of climate change as it absorbs most of the heat from greenhouse gas emissions, which leads to ocean rising temperatures. This affects marine species, ecosystems and causes coral bleaching. 

Coral bleaching occurs when the water is too warm. Corals will expel the algae living in their tissues causing the coral to turn completely white. When a coral bleaches, it is not dead, so all hope is not lost. Corals can survive a bleaching event, but they are under heightened stress and are at a higher risk of dying.

But, it’s not only the oceans and wildlife at risk, the health of the ocean also affects humans. For example, it poses a threat to food security, an increase in diseases and causes more extreme weather events and the loss of coastal protection, jobs and tourism.

Unfortunately, the Great Barrier Reef is under threat, is on the way to destruction, and will be largely wiped out with the elevation of temperatures beyond the 1.5°C goal. 

So why does 0.5°C matter? The half degree difference will also be felt across the world and throughout all areas of society; staying at the 2°C target would mean 14% less access to water when compared to a 1.5°C target!

Similarly, sea levels can be expected to rise 6cm, with double the loss of plant and animal life, and 2-3 times less crop output. Extreme heat can be expected to double, exposing countries like Australia to heatwaves of greater intensity and frequency.

Luckily, “we have the solutions at our fingertips.”

The Time To Act Is Now!

We’ve talked the talk, now we have to walk the walk! Avoiding devastation is possible when we all work together; government, private sectors, and individuals need to start making meaningful strides in actioning the solutions that mitigate climate change and protect our planet. 

A renewed dedication to reducing CO2 emissions will be critical, with net annual emissions needing to be halved by 2050. Increasing energy efficiency in cities and in industrial agriculture and fishery processes, while investing in clean energy to replace fossil fuels are all steps which will help Australia get back on track to achieve our targets.

Australia has already seen the benefits of environmentally-friendly solutions, with the country having completed 32 clean energy projects in 2020.

Further good news can be seen in the increasing number of low-carbon solutions and new markets. This has prompted companies to prioritise carbon neutrality targets, leading to stronger competition and rewards for those with a climate-friendly mindset. 


Keep At It

We can do it! Australia is now starting to act on climate change, and with a renewed effort to adhere to the Paris Agreement, targets are achievable.  

With continued effort across private and government sectors to invest in clean energy and sustainable solutions, the country can work towards a green recovery to ensure a better future, a strong economy, and the preservation of our reefs and our planet.