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What we know now about climate change after 2021
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What we know now about climate change after 2021

What we now know about climate change after 2021


2021 was a year of an Extreme weather events are on the riseThis broke all records in the world.

The Climate change: The impactsThe pace of global warming continued at an alarming pace, with millions of people suffering from devastating flooding, droughts, fires, and heatwaves around the globe.

2021 saw an increase of extreme weather events that broke all records. Getty Images

On October 10, nearly 200 countries sent delegates, world leaders, and activists to Glasgow. COP26 – the biggest climate event of the year.

But after two weeks of negotiations over emissions, carbon trading and reparations for climate damage – world still isn’t on track to avert a climate crisis or to limit global warming to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

Australia was also singled out for being a “superpower”. climate change “pariah”Its failure To increase its 2030 targetTo reduce further emissions and to move away from fossil fuels production.

We asked three experts for their opinions as 2021 draws to a close. Professor Jacqueline PeelIs the Director of Melbourne Climate Futures, Professor John WisemanIs a Professorial Research Associate at the Melbourne Sustainable Society Institute, Dr Andrew KingClimate Extremes Research Fellow, University of California, Berkeley School of Earth SciencesThe ARC Centre of Excellence for Climate System Science.

Professor Jacqueline Peel

2021 was a crucial year for climate action both in Australia and internationally. After more than a decade of unproductive climate policy ‘wars’In Australia, the year ends with an official truce

Both sides of Canberra’s political divide have accepted the need for Australia reach Net zero emissions by 2050. This was impossible 12 months ago.

Both sides of political divide agree that Australia must achieve net zero emissions by 2050. Getty Images

The support of the Business communityBy the Action of the State and Territory governments(who are leading in ambitious climate policy and investment in renewable energy) and the tireless activism of civil societyThe public and the general public calling on change.

Now, the focus is on short-term measures to reduce emissions, including 2030 targets or policies.

This year, Australia’s policy progress was influenced by international events. COP26 Summit – the world’s “last, best chance” to keep alive the goal of no more than 1.5°C of global warming.

The USA, UK, and other rich industrialized countries made significant contributions to the build-up to COP26. ambitious pledgesto reduce their emissions by half by 2030, increasing pressure on the Australian government for climate change improvements.

In 2021, coal also crossed a threshold with new pledges Phase out phase-downCOP26, emerging and support stopping coal financingby major international actors like China and USA.

The Australian government will remain under pressure to update its “nationally determined contribution” and 2030 target heading into COP-27 in Egypt next November.

Keeping ‘1.5°C alive’ and averting the worst impacts of climate change – vital for vulnerable communities in Australia and our Indo-Pacific region – is still possible but the road ahead is steep and the clock is ticking. There’s never been a more important time for concerted action, on all fronts, to ensure a safe, sustainable climate future.

Keeping ‘1.5°C alive’ is vital for vulnerable communities in Australia and our Indo-Pacific region. Getty Images

Professor John Wiseman

Many times I felt proud to have been an Australian citizen in 2021. Grace Tame’sFor her advocacy on behalf of survivors of sexual abuse, she was named Australian of Year. Patty MillsThe heroic leadership of the Boomers during the Tokyo Olympics.

But keep an eye! Australia wins the Colossal FossilIt was less inspiring to receive the award for the country that had the worst record of climate action at COP26 Glasgow.

Many countries have used the Glasgow COPAs a trigger to significantly increase their emission reduction goals. The UK set a goal of reducing emissions by 78% by 2035. The US set a goal of reducing emissions by 50-52% by 2030. The Australian government’s 2030 emission reduction goalThe rate remained steady at 26 to 28%

But 2021’s Australian climate action news wasn’t all bad.

States governmentsFurthermore, cities have strengthened their plans for renewable energy. Legal issuesThe first step to addressing climate risk was to make it mandatory for governments and businesses. Independent support for climate actionIt began to build. The School Strikes for ClimateThe vital role that young people can play in driving climate action was demonstrated by the continued movement

Scientific evidence on the speed of climate change actionIt remains clear that drastic global warming cannot be prevented. This means that Australia must reduce its emissions by at least 75% by 2030.

The Australian government’s 2030 emission reduction goal stayed firmly stuck at 26-28 per cent. Getty Images

TheFirst key taskThis goal can be achieved by a just and rapid phase-out of Australian production and usage of coal, oil, gas and other fossil fuels.

Our next opportunity to open this door is in the 2022 Australian election.


At COP26 in Glasgow, leaders re-affirmed their aim to keep global warming to well below 2°C and preferably below 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

So much attention is paid to the Paris Agreement targets it’s important that we understand the implications of meeting these goals.

Until now, most climate projections have been based on model simulations where the world continues to warm well beyond the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°C and 2°C limits, but this is different from the intention of the Paris Agreement under which global warming should stop rather than continue.

Check out our recent paperWe proposed a new framework to allow us to make climate projections for the world where human-caused carbon dioxide emissions fall to zero and global temperatures stabilize in line with Paris Agreement.

We expect this to have a major impact on climate projections. The ocean warms slowly over many centuries and this alters weather patterns.

As the ocean warms, it will alter our weather patterns as well as impact climate projections. Getty Images

This framework will help us better understand how climate will change if we are able to meet the Paris Agreement and stop global warming.

Even after COP26, the ambition required to meet the Paris Agreement is a long way off from being met, so policies to support strengthened pledges are needed from nations across the world – including Australia.

Banner: Getty Images


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