Media Release: IPCC Report a stark wake-up call on climate change: All levels of govt must radically lift ambition to avoid catastrophic impacts

IPCC Wake-up Call on Climate

MEDIA RELEASE - 8 October 2018 - Friends of the Earth

The International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released its highly-anticipated Special Report into the impacts of 1.5 degrees global warming.

The report finds climate change is already impacting communities around the world through increased severity of flooding, storms, drought and heatwaves, and that radical action is required to limit warming to well-below 1.5C.

Friends of the Earth Australia says the report is a stark wake-up call on climate change and reaffirms that all governments must undertake immediate, transformative action on climate or risk catastrophic impacts.

The Federal Coalition’s failure to address climate change leaves communities exposed to impacts.

“The Coalition’s head-in-the-sand approach to climate change exposes communities to intensifying impacts such as heatwaves, droughts, bushfires, and extreme weather,” said Leigh Ewbank, Friends of the Earth’s climate change spokesperson.

“Now’s the time for governments to double their efforts and get serious about delivering emissions cuts. We have no time to waste on climate action.”

Friends of the Earth say it is time for all levels of government to build on the efforts of communities when it comes to tackling climate change:

“Communities around Australia are taking action on climate change. Millions of households have installed solar power, communities are building their own renewable energy projects and planning for climate impacts,” said Pat Simons, Friends of the Earth’s renewable energy spokesperson.

“All levels of government must do a heavier lift than the community when it comes to tackling climate change” added Simons.

The Federal Coalition’s failure to tackle climate change requires greater political leadership from Bill Shorten and the Labor opposition.

“With the Federal Coalition failing to tackle climate change, it’s time for Bill Shorten and the Labor opposition to show political leadership and make climate change a priority,” said Leigh Ewbank

“It was Labor governments that initiated the visionary Snowy Hydro project, increased the Renewable Energy Target, and made the polluters pay for their contribution to climate change.”

“The next Federal Labor government must take an even greater level of ambition to rein in emissions if we are to avoid impacts the IPCC has warned are fast approaching”

Friends of the Earth say that state and territory governments have been a critically important player in climate change policy while the Federal government has applied the handbrake.    

“State governments will continue to play a key role ensuring Australia reins in emissions, and deserve the support of the Federal government,” added Leigh Ewbank.

If the Federal Coalition was serious about climate change it would:

  • Immediately increase the ambition of Australia’s national emissions reduction targets in line with the latest science.

  • Develop a plan to rapidly phase out Australia’s aging fleet of polluting coal- and gas-fired power stations

  • Rapidly rollout solar, wind, and energy storage to reach 100 percent renewables by 2030 at the latest to create thousands of jobs and rein in emissions in the electricity sector

  • Extend and increase the Renewable Energy Target beyond 2020.

  • Commit to stopping the Adani coal mine and ending fossil fuel exports.

  • Rule out the use of risky, unproven techno-fixes such as bio-energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS)

  • Announce a senate inquiry investigating the current and future impacts of climate change on Australia across all sectors of the economy.

  • Publicly support state and territory renewable energy targets such, such as those in Victoria, Queensland, South Australia, and ACT.  

  • Publicly support Victoria’s legislated ban on unconventional gas and moratorium on onshore gasfields.

  • Immediately approve the exploration license for Star of the South offshore wind farm, which is predicted to avoid up to 10 million tonnes of polluting greenhouse gas emissions.


Friends of the Earth will be closely monitoring the Federal government’s response to the IPCC’s Special Report.

Failure to announce new initiatives in the wake of the report will confirm that the Federal Coalition is incapable of addressing the great challenge of our time.

“There is no safe level of warming, and business as usual simply will not be enough” said Pat Simons.