We have a choice. We can power our lives with dangerous, unhealthy and polluting energy; or embrace clean, safe, renewable power. We have the technologies at hand now to avoid pollution, climate change, oil spills, radiation and nuclear waste. All we need is action.
After centuries of burning the planet’s coal, oil and gas supplies and destroying vast areas of forests and peatlands, we now know that carbon pollution is pouring into the atmosphere and altering the delicate balance of life on Earth.
Burning coal is the single biggest contributor to climate change. It produces a third of the world’s carbon pollution. Coal not only damages our climate, but it is bad for our health, it pollutes our water systems and releases tonnes of toxic waste products into local ecosystems.
Australia is one of the biggest carbon polluters per capita in the world. While the rest of the world races to join the booming clean energy market, the coal industry is in a rush to dig up and export as much coal as possible from Australia. Not only would this lock the world into decades of more pollution and crowd out the potential for large-scale renewable energy, it threatens one of the world's greatest treasures – the Great Barrier Reef. Find out more
The impacts of climate change are being felt today. Average global temperatures have risen every decade since the 1970s, and 2013 tied as 7th warmest year since 1880
. Glaciers, permafrost and sea ice are disappearing. Sea levels are rising, coral reefs dying, species becoming extinct, seasons changing and extreme weather events becoming more common
The impacts of climate change are already responsible for killing an estimated 300,000 people every year
and damaging ecosystems. And this is just the beginning. The science predicts that anything more than 2°C rise in global temperatures puts us on the road to potentially catastrophic problems. It would lead to more flooding, more drought, more disease, more famine and more war, the creation of hundreds of millions of refugees and destruction of entire ecosystems and species. This would happen at home
, in our region
and on the global stage
It is clear what needs to be done and when – what is missing is the will to do it. Governments around the world have a responsibility to protect the planet and its inhabitants. They must drastically reduce domestic carbon pollution, foster investment in large-scale renewable energy projects, protect forests and commit to a fair, ambitious and biding global climate agreement.
But governments aren’t the only accountable ones. Big mining companies, who are exploiting resources around the world, are going to ever greater lengths to extract fossil fuels at the expense of our natural world. Farmland, the Great Barrier Reef and the Arctic – fragile regions that used to be thought untouchable – are proving to be acceptable to damage. Find out more