Meanwhile at the IPCC

Eve Jeffery

While Australians were thoroughly distracted by Gladys’s Opera House racing debacle, news that last Saturday in Incheon, Republic of Korea, the Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5ºC was approved by the IPCC faded into the background.

‘The IP what?’ you say. That’s exactly the way the Australian government likes it.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is the UN body for assessing the science related to climate change. It was established to provide policymakers with regular scientific assessments concerning climate change, its implications and potential future risks; and to put forward adaptation and mitigation strategies.

In response to the report, North East Forest Alliance (NEFA) is renewing its call for a rapid phase-out of logging of public native forests. They say this will allow the forests to take up the ever-increasing volumes of atmospheric carbon as they recover from past logging.

The IPCC report identifies that human emissions have already increased global temperatures by one degree, and that at current rates temperature rises are set to reach 1.5 degrees by as early as 2030. To limit global warming to 1.5 degrees the IPCC has said that net carbon emissions must be cut by 45 per cent by 2030 and reduced to zero by 2050.

NEFA spokesperson Dailan Pugh says that forests are the lungs of the earth. ‘They take in our carbon dioxide, storing the carbon and giving us back oxygen; left standing they are part of the solution to climate change.

‘The reality is that logging has run down the carbon storage in vast tracts of NSW’s forest by 40–60 per cent. As logging intensity increases the carbon stored in the trees and soil, along with the forest’s structure and biodiversity, is further diminished.

‘It has been estimated that globally wooded areas soak up a third of the fossil fuels released into the atmosphere each year. If we were to stop deforestation tomorrow the world’s established and regrowing forests would remove half of fossil-fuel emissions.’

Pugh says that stopping logging of public native forests will allow the recovering forests to take up and store huge volumes of atmospheric carbon as they age.

‘This will help buy us time while we reduce emissions from other sectors.’

Logging is not the only factor highlighted by the IPCC, who have also pointed out the need to stop using coal and fossil fuels.

Our government’s persistent romance with the coal and unconventional-gas industries is both obscene and lacking any future vision. Between Adani, Shenhua in Breeza and The Narrabri Project in the Pilliga, we are facing a not-so-slow walk into the gloom.

‘We are facing a climate emergency,’ says Pugh. ‘To address the climate chaos we need to quickly move to obtaining our energy from non-polluting sources, while restoring the ability of our forests to takeup and store increasing volumes of carbon.’

5 responses to “Meanwhile at the IPCC”

  1. David Norris says:

    If Adani goes ahead, it will have a life span of 60 years. That means it will stop operation about 2080, which is 30 years after the 2050 deadline for zero emissions. Labor says it will meet this deadline but it won’t commit to a ‘no new coal mine’ policy. How can Labor expect to reach its zero emissions target by 2050 if Adani and other new coal mines are still operating after 2050? There needs to be an orderly transition to 100% renewable energy. This means phasing out existing coal mines and not approving new ones. It is not about short term gain and getting votes – it is about a safe and prosperous future of our children and the survival of the planet.

  2. robot says:

    Until some utter barstard decides to take advantage of our limited energy capacity, and then future looks different again.

  3. Meg Nielsen says:

    Brilliant article by Eve Jeffrey. Explains the issue so clearly that anyone can see the absolute sense in these IPCC recommendations. The solutions are obvious & really do-able. We need to retain our forests to do the job they already do so perfectly. Store carbon & provide habitat for our wildlife. The Regional Forest Agreements expire in 2020 so perfect time to stop logging our public native forests & retain as non-timber resources. Carbon storage & many jobs in Eco-tourism & rehabilitation of forests. Many of which are sadly in need of work to restore BMAD or more accurately ‘lantana associated dieback’ following decades of neglect, logging without genuine attempts at maintenance by Forest Corp. Our forests can be getting on with the job of reducing Australia’s emissions while our politicians get round to the job of agreeing on sensible & adequate energy & climate policy. Over 80% of our timber already comes from plantations so there is an opportunity for our farmers to grow timber to make up any shortfall & ofcourse to grow the under explored hemp for building materials.

  4. Roger Graf says:

    Let’s consider our young population for a moment and expand on the fact that the ‘Homeland Generation’ born from 2004 onwards is capable of ‘decision making’ for the future goals of sustainability of life support for future generations.
    One must realise that education via the internet and associated communication models in the form of Aps etc. has undoubtedly advanced the homeland generation to display an aptitude to survive for as equal amount of time on this planet as what we have come to be led to believe is old age ranging from 75+ [at least] as desirable.
    Is it not in the best interest of our government [from local through to federal] to allow the age to vote as young as at least 16 YO instead of what is practised as becoming an adult at 18, which is like the bible in some ways, unable to keep up with the times in this and our fast speed generation of species.
    In the interest of survival on this planet, we must be flexible enough to make our adults be younger and more prudent in education to formulate their future views upon those that have griped on for so long to the power of conservative values and views that are no longer flexible to the future path that huge changes must be made on society in every conceivable way for a balance of human dignity for all races of human beings.
    Somehow ‘tribalism’ has become the norm and we have lost a huge amount of respect and me as a ‘baby boomer’ believe that due to the generation before ours, we were handed security of all shapes and forms and to fight for that earned security no matter what. But in doing so, Generation X was in many ways papered.
    The explosion of security in today’s world has taken a different path to that of the ‘Boomers’ and is concerned on such issues as terrorism, immigration from certain countries and is less so, but ranks higher that the two mentioned is, Domestic Violence which at least a death is recorded daily.
    So, what’s going on? Is our situation due to an increase in the temperature rising which causes a much greater aggressiveness in our society and the world over?
    Could this be brought about by Global Warming and the consequences of climate change, or are we just so greedy that dividends, negative gearing or paying as little taxation is more important than the ability for the future planet to survive.
    For me, tax all forms of consumption of energy immediately so as we can get down to negative 1.5 Celsius and become a cooler and stable planet as we did have when I was a 16 YO.
    Give the ability for the Homeland Generation to vote in the next election and make Global Warming the most decisive decision on our future and the future generations… and yes, heretics does not mean that the earth is flat, and that renewable energy will take away jobs and growth as some politicians might say.

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