Two reports made public on 8th October 2018 have the potential to change our region, our country and our world. How we respond to them will decide the nature of that future.

The first was presented by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

“One of the key messages that comes out very strongly from this report is that we are already seeing the consequences of 1°C of global warming through more extreme weather, rising sea levels and diminishing Arctic sea ice, among other changes,” said Panmao Zhai, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group I.

The report highlights a number of climate change impacts that could be avoided by limiting global warming to 1.5ºC compared to 2ºC, or more. Limiting global warming to 1.5°C would require “rapid and far-reaching” transitions in land, energy, industry, buildings, transport, and cities. Global net human-caused emissions of carbon dioxide (CO2) would need to fall by about 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, reaching ‘net zero’ around 2050.

The direction now is clear.

The second report was the Bylong Coal Project Final Assessment Report.

It was prepared by the NSW Department of Planning and Environment for consideration by the Independent Planning Commission (IPC).

“The overall conclusion was that substantial doubt persisted about the potential benefits and impacts of the project, and that further careful weighing up and balancing will be required prior to any decision on the project. Stringent conditions have been set should the project be approved.”

The benefits may be doubtful but the negative impacts of the project are very clear. The project will seriously impact prime agricultural land. It will exacerbate global warming. Australia is manifestly failing to reduce its carbon emissions with increased emissions having been recorded in each of the last 3 years. Should the Department of Planning be approving projects that will increase emissions?

Every bit of global warming matters.

Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II has said, “The decisions we make today are critical in ensuring a safe and sustainable world for everyone, both now and in the future. The next few years are probably the most important in our history”.