Sally Gillespie

Sally Gillespie

The latest IPCC Report: Protecting your family from climate disruption.


Chances are you might not have had time to catch up with the latest IPCC report, especially if you are also contending with lockdowns. This report is issued every few years by the United Nations, and is put together by hundreds of the world’s leading climate scientists based on the latest research. The whole report is not an easy read but the message it gives is relatively straightforward. Firstly, we must act immediately as global heating is accelerating, and secondly the benefits of acting now, rather than later, could be life saving for ourselves, our children and grandchildren.

The latest IPCC report issues the starkest warning yet about the damage that burning fossil fuels is causing to our climate. Left unchecked it endangers us, and all living things on our planet. So we must act now to restrict this damage. Effective climate action throughout this decade is our best chance to stop the worst impacts of climate disruption. The glass half empty approach says “Every day that passes without urgent climate action locks in more damage” The glass half full says “every action we take now helps create a better future for our families.” Either way we must act now.

Professor Will Steffen from the Climate Council tell us that “The decisions we make now will resonate for centuries or millennia. The right choices will be measured in lives, livelihoods, species and ecosystems saved. The benefits of stronger action will be particularly important for our children and grandchildren”. So what are the right choices you can make to be part of a global effort to safeguard our families and our planet?

Based on the latest science, and taking into account Australia’s national circumstances, the Climate Council advises that Australia should reduce its emissions by 75% below 2005 levels by 2030, and achieve net zero emissions by 2035. This means the current Government’s policy of having a preference for a net zero reduction by 2050 seriously endangers our future. The most important thing every Australian citizen can do is ensure that at our next Federal Government understands the urgency of taking climate action. As voters, we need to quiz every candidate in the coming election about their commitment on climate action and only vote for those who are committed to slashing emissions by 2030 and halting new fossil fuel developments from the moment they enter Parliament.

In addition to voting for climate active politicians, here are 4 things we can do in our everyday lives that will make a substantial difference:

  1. Switch your household to solar panels and/or an energy provider which provides carbon neutral energy.
  2. Join in the divestment movement by shifting your money from banks and superannuation funds that still invest in fossil fuels (an increasingly high risk investment) to ones that invest ethically for the future. If you do this through the 1 Million Woman campaign , your switch will have more impact.
  3. Eat less meat. Animal agriculture is a significant contributor to climate change accounting for more direct greenhouse gases than trains, ships, planes and road transportation combined. Reducing or eliminating red meat consumption in particular reduces methane emissions, water usage and land clearing, all of which are factors in the climate crisis.
  4. Have an open conversation with receptive friends, family or colleagues about climate change. We tend to avoid this conversation, however we generally feel much better for talking with others about what we know, how we feel and what we can do. Climate action is always best done with company.