7.3 C
Byron Shire
July 30, 2021

Still time to tackle the climate crisis

Latest News

I’m with you Mandy…

Dominica Coulthurst, Knockrow I’m with you Mandy... all the way. Thanks so much for your Soapbox message last week. Always love...

Other News

Why the rush?

Sara Rath, Goonengerry I was born in Byron Bay and I am deeply concerned for the known and unknown impacts of...

Byron Shire residents urged to get tested

Fragments of the COVID-19 virus have been found in the Byron Bay sewerage treatment plant (STP) that services Byron Bay, Broken Head, Suffolk Park, Wategos, and Sunrise areas and the Northern NSW Local Health District (NNSWHD) are asking residents and visitors to get tested at the first sign of any symptoms.

Fake news

Ron Priestley, Main Arm What Neil Bowhay is proposing (Letters, 14 July) is that The Echo prints fake news. It is people...

Staged rollout change for large OS DA

Plans by a developer to change the staged rollout for a large Ocean Shores subdivision, and nine dwellings on 11 and 13 Warrambool Rd and 9 Bian Crt, Ocean Shores, are now on exhibition on Council’s website.

Saddle Road land snapped up for $10m

A picturesque property in Brunswick Heads that was once slated to become an eco-village may become a light industrial precinct after the owners sold it to a developer for $10 million. 

US promises to return Assange to Australia a ‘trick’ says father

Lawyers for the US said Judge Baraitser ought to have sought assurances for Mr Assange’s safety in the US prison system during the extradition trial. 

Mia Armitage & Jim Beatson

Two major reports on Australian climate change have been released in the past month and while neither has good news experts still say it’s not too late.

The first was last month’s report from the Climate Council released in the lead-up to a federal election.

The report showed the federal government had engaged in what the council called ‘climate deceit’ by delaying and playing down emissions reports.

Then, once again, the government released the national quarterly report on greenhouse gas emissions the morning after a major football match.

The latest report shows Australia’s emissions in 2018 have increased by 0.7 per cent since 2017 if you include the ‘land use sector’ and 0.6 per cent without.

It all ‘adds up’

An increase of less than one per cent in Australia’s emissions since the country’s 2017 report may not sound like much, but Dr Annika Dean, an expert in climate science impacts and adaption, says any increase is significant.

Australia’s emissions have increased every quarter for the past four years and it all ‘adds up’ she says.

‘The data clearly show that without a credible climate policy, emissions will continue to rise.’

Dr Dean says with land use emissions excluded from calculations, Australian carbon gas emissions are at a record high.

‘It’s really the wrong direction if we want to be reducing our emissions to meet our Paris targets, let alone reducing climate change’.

World not on track

Dr Dean says emissions ‘in a lot of other countries’ are decreasing but in some, like Australia, emissions continue to increase.

‘In the US, the transition to renewables, the closure of multiple coal-fired power stations, means emissions are slowly falling,’ she says.

Other countries have set higher targets, along with the European Union and a lot of small island countries, very vulnerable to climate change, are transitioning away from fossil fuels.

But largely, Dr Dean says, ‘we’re not really on track to meet the Paris goal of limiting global warming to two degrees’ above pre-industrialisation levels.

‘If you take all countries’ pledges we’re still on track for warming around three degrees,’ she says.

Last year’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report backs this up.

IPCC vice chair and co-author of the report Professor Howden said that if the world keeps on its current trajectory, global warming will probably be ‘four degrees or over’ the Paris targets.

The professor says if the world sticks to Paris gas-emissions targets, warming will be restricted to about three degrees but to achieve global warming targets, ‘we have to really significantly reduce emissions’.

‘On steroids’

Professor Howden says the world is ‘going up and up in sea level just as we keep on going up and up in temperature’.

He says the warming is likely to lead to an increase in ‘big storm events and cyclones’ that will be more intense and will travel further.

At the same time, droughts and heatwaves will probably increase in frequency and intensity.

‘So the things that we’ve seen over the last couple of years but on steroids,’ he says.

Climate crisis

Dr Dean says Australia is facing a climate crisis that includes extreme heat, bushfire, and sea-level rise.

‘We’ve just had the hottest summer on record and we keep on seeing records broken,’ she says. ‘We’ve just seen the hottest March and it’s actually been the hottest January to April period on record. That heat exacerbates extreme weather.’

Human extinction

While Professor Howden says he doesn’t think humanity will go extinct, ‘Many, many people will die needlessly and many, many people will suffer needlessly, and of course many species apart from humans are going to be impacted’.

But while a million species are predicted to go extinct in the next few decades, Professor Howden says, ‘Humans are very adaptable. We find ways of surviving in extraordinary environments… from polar environments through to the hottest places on Earth’.

‘But even if we can keep ourselves cool, there are other costs that aren’t economic. You won’t get to send your kid out to play soccer on the weekend because it will get too hot’.

Dr Dean echoes Professor Howden’s warnings, ‘Australians’ livelihoods are being affected by climate change,’ she says. ‘We really need to address our greenhouse gas emissions and turn them around so that they start to decline rather than increasing to mitigate this problem of climate change.’

To hear full interviews with Dr Annika Dean and Professor Mark Howden, go to Community Newsroom at www.bayfm.org.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


  1. The Prof doesn’t think humanity will go extinct is a gutsy call. We humans are like all the other species on Earth, we live in The Environment that we all depend upon to survive. We might last a bit longer than most species but when The Environment is destroyed ( which is the pathway that we are on ) then we eventually will go down with it.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Ballina Shire Council supports application for new croquet club

The Ballina Croquet Club is hoping to receive up to $300,000 in funding for a new club house at Cawarra Park. 

Storylines: Growing hope

Hope is a fragile thing in 2021. With the current pandemic and the uncertainty in so many aspects of life, our hope is being shadowed by fear. It is profoundly affecting our humanity.

Northern Rivers responds to cal for COVID-19 testing

Following the flight of a COVID positive traveller from Sydney to Ballina and the detection of COVID fragments in the Byron Bay Sewage Treatment Plant (STP) both locals and visitors have responded to calls for more testing in the region.

Open-air art walk by the river at Murwillumbah completed

The Ages of the Tweed mural that accompanies the open-air riverside art walk has now been completed.