23 June 2016

Scientists, business leaders and prominent Australians call for emergency climate action

Climate emergenecy statement published in "The Age" 23 June 2016. Click to enlarge.

More than 20 prominent Australians have called for emergency-scale action on climate change in an open letter to the new parliament, published in "The Age" on 23 June.

Signatories run across the political spectrum, and include business leaders, scientists, a former Australian of the Year and a Nobel Laureate.
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Ian Dunlop, a former Chair of the Australian Coal Association and former CEO of the Australian Institute of Company Directors says:
We are out of time for gradualist policy. We need courage rather than procrastination from our aspiring leaders. Emergency action is a call increasingly being taken up by leading scientists and responsible leaders around the world as extreme events escalate.
The statement reads:
At the Paris climate talks, scientists and people from low-lying island states set 1.5ºC of warming as a red line that must not be crossed.
However, earlier this year, the global average temperature spiked past 1.6ºC of warming.
The bleaching of coral reefs around the world, increasing extreme weather events, the melting of large ice sheets and recent venting of methane from thawing permafrost make it abundantly clear that the earth is already too hot.
The future of human civilisation, and the survival of the precious ecosystems on which we depend, now hang in the balance.
There must be an immediate ban on new coal and gas developments and an emergency-speed transition to zero emissions.
We must begin the enormous task of safely drawing down the excess greenhouse gases already in the atmosphere.
We call on the new parliament to declare a climate emergency.
Epidemiologist Professor Fiona Stanley says she is already measuring the health impacts of global warming: "Our children top the list of those most likely to suffer from climate change. Their future, their health must be our number one priority. We are doing too little, too late. As a society we need to step up."

Paul Barratt, a former Secretary of the Departments of Defence and Primary Industries & Energy, and a former CEO of the Business Council of Australia, says: "Climate policy is not providing a secure future for Australians. The implications of rising sea levels and drowning and failed states are underestimated. Just as we have faced fire, flood, drought and military threat in the past we now need to throw everything we can at the climate
crisis. We must make action on global warming the nation’s highest-level priority."

The open letter was initiated by community climate groups, motivated by leading scientists who described a "climate emergency" as warming exceeded 1.5C in early 2016.

The full list of signatories is:
Philip Adams, broadcaster
Kirstie Albion, CEO Austn Youth Climate Coalition
Paul Barratt, former head Defence Dept
Prof. Judy Brett, historian
Dr Stephen Byrave, CEO Beyond Zero Emissions
Geoff Cousins AM, President Austn Conservation Foundation
Mary Crooks, CEO Vic. Women’s Trust
Prof. Peter Doherty, Nobel Laureate for Medicine
Ian Dunlop, former Chair Austn Coal Assoc.
Prof. Tim Flannery, palaeontologist
John Hewson, businessman and former Opposition leader
Prof. Ove Hoegh-Guldberg, marine scientist
Prof. David Karoly, atmospheric scientist
Prof. Carmen Lawrence, former WA premier
Dr Colin Long, Vic. Sec. Nat. Tertiary Education Union
Prof. Robert Manne, political scientist
Bill McKibben, author and co-founder 350.org
Christine Milne, Global Greens Ambassador
Paul Oosting, CEO GetUp
David Ritter, CEO Greenpeace Aust.
Prof. Peter Singer, moral philosopher
Prof. Fiona Stanley, epidemiologist
Dr John (Charlie) Veron, pioneer coral researcher
Mark Wakeham, CEO Environment Vic.
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