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Feature Story - 17 June, 2013
Our leading scientists have confirmed that most of the world's coal, including Australia's, must not be used if we are to prevent global warming from getting a lot worse.

Australia's Climate Commission, comprising of Australia's most respected climate change scientists, has released a new report with profound implications for Australia's coal industry. 

The Climate Commission has issued a challenge to Australia's political and business leaders, confirming that "most fossil fuels must be left in the ground and cannot be burned" if we are going to meet the agreed goal of limiting global warming to below two degrees above pre-industrial temperature.

Australians are already suffering the impacts of climate change – a consequence of failure to tackle rising greenhouse gas emissions, the bulk of which come from burning fossil fuels. 

The Critical Decade

Some key findings of the report include:   

  • “It is clear that the climate system has already shifted, changing conditions for all weather. While extreme weather events have always occurred naturally, the global climate system is hotter and wetter than it was 50 years ago. This has loaded the dice toward more frequent and forceful  extreme weather events. The duration and frequency of heatwaves and extremely hot days have increased across Australia and around the world. The number of heatwaves is projected to increase significantly into the future.”

  • “The burning of fossil fuels represents the most significant contributor to climate change.”

  • “From today until 2050 we can emit no more than 600 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide to have a good chance of staying within the 2°C limit.”

  • “Based on estimates by the International Energy Agency, emissions from using all the world’s fossil fuel reserves would be around five times this budget. Burning all fossil fuel reserves would lead to unprecendented changes in climate so severe that they will challenge the existence of our society as we know it today.”

Download the full report; The Critical Decade 2013 Climate change science, risks and responses.

Download the Key Findings.

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