Critical Decade 2017: Accelerating Climate Action

Today the Climate Council has released our signature bi-annual report on the Critical Decade
The report brings together the latest research on Australian climate change impacts, climate science and solutions. This report also reflects on the lack of progress on climate change in recent years, highlighting that Australia is falling behind the rest of the world in its climate change and renewable energy policies.

Some of the key findings of the report include:
  • Global temperature rises near or above 2°C increase the risk of triggering feedbacks that amplify warming, creating extreme conditions that could threaten the viability of our civilisation.
  • Renewable energy is already replacing ageing, polluting fossil fuels as the energy system of the future, with the installation of solar and wind systems globally doubling every 5.4 years. This has been accompanied by a precipitous drop in coal consumption, particularly in the US and China.
  • Maintaining this rate of renewable expansion could see the world’s energy systems completely eliminate greenhouse gas emissions by 2040.
  • Australia is failing to tackle climate change with emissions rising and a lack of any coherent, national approach to reduce emissions in the short, medium or long term. We are known as a global climate laggard.
The report also includes a number of recommendations for policymakers. These recommendations include:
  • Build a unified, bipartisan, consensus approach to climate change that takes the issue out of the current divisive, ‘political football’ landscape.
  • Create a well-defined pathway towards a net-zero emissions Australia by the mid-2040s at the latest. 
  • Revitalise the Climate Change Authority, strengthen its climate science capacity, and build policy actions on science-based targets and pathways. 
  • Support and accelerate the many effective actions on climate change that are already being undertaken by states, territories and local governments. 
  • Transform Australia’s position on the global stage from a laggard to a leader on climate change. 


* The Climate Council is a non-profit independent organisation which aims to provide clear, independent information on climate change to the Australian community. We are fiercely independent and apolitical.

About Darin Sullivan (1980 Articles)
Former President of the Fire Brigade Employees’ Union (2009-2018) and a professional firefighter with more than 30 years experience. I live and work on the NSW South Coast, Australia. I am a strong advocate for firefighters and emergency service workers with an interest in mental health issues and caring for those around me. I am a former Director on the NSW Fire Brigades Death and Disability Super Fund and work with charities including ‘The Movember Foundation’. As a leader and activist I have long been active in the campaign for action on climate change. I am a Station Commander in the fire and rescue service in NSW and have 30 years experience fighting fires, both rural and urban. I am passionate about highlighting the impact climate change is having on fire preparedness and fire behaviour in Australia, and the risks associated with inaction on climate change. I am also a spokesperson for the Australian Climate Media Centre.
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