If you saw the UN's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) just-released climate report, you already know that our planet is in trouble. And if you didn't, here's the short version: Humans — namely the world's largest emitters and richest countries — are responsible for the pollution that is changing the climate system so quickly that the earth can't keep up. Climate Change is already here, and it's killing people and destroying environments right now.
If we'd like to continue living on — and enjoying — this earth, we need to jump in with both feet, and we need to do it now. But we can't do it alone. We need our leaders fully on board in order to make impactful changes, especially our Australian leaders who haven’t made serious climate commitments.
So how do we do that? It's not easy. But it is doable — and it, in part, hinges on the decisions of Australia and other world leaders at the upcoming COP26.
What is COP?
It's easy to get lost in all of the acronyms (IPCC! GHG! CO2!), but COP26 is shorthand for "Conference of the Parties," and it refers to the 197 nations and territories that are signatories of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. Australia is one of these countries. Since forming, the parties that signed meet every year to organize a global response to the climate crisis. And right now, all eyes are on COP26, or the 26th UN Climate Change Conference of the Parties, held in Glasgow from October 31-November 12. This is a big deal, as COP26 is all about taking action — not talking shop or dodgy pretend plans — to reach the goals of the Paris Agreement and the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change.
What Should We Keep Our Eye on at COP26?
All of the challenges we're facing hinge on limiting climate change to well below 2°C or as close to 1.5°C as possible. But to do that, we need to identify — and achieve — some ambitious emissions-reductions targets. Each country is being asked to update its emission-reduction targets at COP26 in October to ensure they are consistent with keeping temperature rise below 1.5ºC. These targets will vary based on that country’s challenges and plans of action and in accordance with respective capabilities, but each will focus on specific ways for that country to reduce pollution, keep fossil fuels in the ground, invest in renewables, stop deforestation, and move toward electric vehicles and new real-zero targets.
What’s Aus got to do?
We love this place in the world and all the amazing people, places and wildlife that make up Australia — and we're pretty sure that you do, too. Which is why we need our Government to take urgent action to protect Australia.
As a first step, we need to at least match the commitments of our global friends, and pledge to at least halve our emissions this decade.
Join us to call on our leaders to listen to the science and set targets to reach net zero by 2035 at COP26. Take action and sign the Climate Council petition here!