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It's Time to Get Serious about Climate Change!

Two Year 10 students from the Climate Council, Anna and Sarah, have written a great explainer on the recent IPCC report, with some terrific suggestions to help us all reduce our impact on the climate. 

The IPCC report is the most comprehensive climate report ever released - produced by the world’s most authoritative body on climate science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Source: IPCC, 2021, "Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis"

It details the current climate crisis and what our future might look like, compiled together from research by scientists across the globe. Currently the report is the physical science basis. The next two parts, on the human impacts and how to respond, are coming in 2022.

Here is a summary of the IPCC report’s most important points:

  • If we continue as we are, by 2030 global warming will have increased to 1.5°C above the normal temperature.
  • Climate change is definitely caused by human activities and having disastrous impacts. Climate change is no longer speculation.
  • Rare extreme events cease to be rare, and will be much more extreme, often paired with another extreme event.
  • Every fraction of a degree matters. There is a huge difference between if temperatures rise by 1.5 or 2 degrees and everything beyond.
  • Extreme temperature events currently occur almost 5 times as often as they did historically. This is shown in the chart.
  • Everywhere on Earth is being impacted by climate change, and the effects will continue to increase.

So, what does this mean for Australia?

  • Increased intensity, frequency and duration of fire weather events
  • Increased severe storms
  • For Southern Australia (where we are), decreased rainfall and therefore increased droughts

Although there is only a very low chance that global temperature will not rise to more than 1.5° C by the end of the century, it is still possible if changes are made right now. Every fraction of a degree of warming avoided, every push for cleaner air and water will reduce the number of people and areas impacted.

Social scientists have discovered that once one person makes a sustainability-oriented decision, other people will follow suit. You can make a difference!

The Top 10 things we can do to make a difference

  1. Spend an extra thought to use the most suitable bin.
  2. Re-use. Food containers, water bottles, shopping bags, jars and tins can all be reused. Avoid single-use cups, cutlery, straws, bags, bottled water and individually-wrapped products.
  3. Turn off lights, appliances and switches when not in use. Open windows for light, and close doors to reduce air-conditioning/heating. Switch lights to LED. Invest in solar panels to save energy bills. Use rechargeable batteries.
  4. Reduce car trips by planning ahead, using public transport/carpooling, riding a bike, or walking.
  5. Save paper: Print only what you need, double sided, reuse scrap paper, opt for digital newsletters, stick ‘no junk mail’ on your letterbox, buy recycled paper options (including exercise books, printer paper and toilet paper), use all pages in notebooks, and recycle your used paper.
  6. Choose locally sourced (Australian) ingredients, reduce meat and dairy products (especially red meat), grow your own veggies and only buy what you need to reduce waste.
  7. The clothing and textile industries are the second largest polluters in the world. Choose sustainable clothing options, only buy what you need, and reuse them. There are so many beautiful second-hand garments just waiting to be loved! 
  8. Plant native plants in your garden to attract native birds, bees, butterflies and other animals. Since native plants are used to Australia’s dry climate, they use less water than traditional plants. Click here to learn about Banyule’s plants.
  9. Hang wet clothes on a line instead of using a dryer.
  10. Promote your sustainable choices on social media!
  • Doyle, K. (August 11 2021). "What does the latest IPCC report mean for Australia?" ABC News.
  • IPCC, 2021: Climate Change 2021: The Physical Science Basis. Contribution of Working Group I to the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [Masson-Delmotte, V., P. Zhai, A. Pirani, S. L. Connors, C. Péan, S. Berger, N. Caud, Y. Chen, L. Goldfarb, M. I. Gomis, M. Huang, K. Leitzell, E. Lonnoy, J. B. R. Matthews, T. K. Maycock, T. Waterfield, O. Yelekçi, R. Yu and B. Zhou (eds.)]. Cambridge University Press. In Press.
  • Ofei, M. (July 28 2021). "100+ Simple Tips To Live a More Sustainable Lifestyle". The Minimalist Vegan.
  • Ortiz, D. A. (November 5 2018). "Ten simple ways to act on climate change". BBC Future.
  • Slezak, M., & Timms, P. (August 9 2021). "Climate change report from IPCC a 'code red for humanity', United Nations chief warns". ABC News.
  • zentouro. (August 9 2021). The latest IPCC report explained in 7.5 minutes [Video]. YouTube