Code Red for Humanity!
This is the dire warning issued by António Guterres, United Nations Secretary General, following release of the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) sixth assessment report.
The report, released on 9 August 2021, is the starkest warning yet of the urgent need for climate action.
It surmises that major climate changes are inevitable and irreversible. Global heating to 1.5 degrees C above pre-industrial levels by the early 2030s seems unavoidable under all scenarios.
We are already in a global climate emergency with extreme weather events from heatwaves, droughts, storms, and cyclones resulting in unprecedented wildfires, flooding, coastal erosion, mass coral bleaching and death, which in turn have caused devastating impacts to human health and safety, economic and social well-being and leading to collapsing ecosystems.
The report indicates that we must cut our greenhouse gas emissions by at least 65% this decade and reach net zero emissions within 15 years if we are to avoid a climate catastrophe that will impact most other species of plants and animals on Earth, as well as our species.
What can you do?
It's easy to feel crushed by the unbearable realities laid out in the IPCC report and powerless to do anything meaningful in response.
However, to lose hope, and despair for the future is to give up on all that we love and hold dear, particularly here on the Sunshine Coast - a very special part of the world.
There is still so much worth fighting for and saving. Action is the antidote to despair!
You can find strength by connecting with others like you in the community, and join local actions that can collectively contribute to the changes necessary to give the next generation a future that they can look forward to.
You can join the campaign to have the Sunshine Coast Council declare a climate emergency and take stronger and more urgent action, which in turn can deliver tangible outcomes for all of us residing or visiting here.
The Urgent Climate Action Network Sunshine Coast (UCANSC) is driving the CED campaign. The network includes Sunshine Coast Environment Council (SCEC), Sunshine Coast Climate Action Now (SCCAN), and the Sunshine Coast branches of: Extinction Rebellion (XRSC), Stop Adani, Australian Parents 4 Climate Action (AP4CA), Transition Towns, Solar Citizens, Wildlife Preservation Society of Queensland (WPSQ-SCHB), with new organisations joining all the time.
Climate Emergency Declaration
The Sunshine Coast Council has an important role in providing leadership to build resilience to climate change and support projects that reduce emissions.
The Council accepts that climate change is a serious issue and has implemented a number of policies and actions to address this over the last 10 years.
However, these don't go far enough and fast enough to prevent the community being overwhelmed by catastrophic impacts to our natural, built and socio-economic environments.
Council's target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2041 is clearly inadequate, particularly in light of the IPCC's sixth report.
Council played an important part in the successful bid for the 2032 Olympic Games.
An important element of the successful bid was a commitment to make this the first "climate positive" summer Olympics. A "climate positive" Olympics goes further than reducing emissions and offsetting those that are unavoidable (carbon neutral). It would seek to absorb or remove more emissions than it produces to become "carbon negative" - a synonym for "climate positive".
This presents a perfect opportunity for Council to align itself with this goal by advancing its own target for net zero emissions from 2041 to 2030. As many of the games' events will be held at venues on the Sunshine Coast, the area will attract significant national and international attention. Council's climate action achievements will undoubtedly be spotlighted.
The strategy is to build a groundswell of residents, organisations and businesses demanding Council declare a climate emergency.
The first stage involved contacting councillors seeking their support for more urgent climate action, initially through an email campaign, then with face-to-face meetings with some councillors and senior council staff by small delegations.
This led council to hold a workshop for councillors and senior staff on 21 May 2021 to discuss options for taking further action to address the growing climate emergency. The workshop included presentations from 4 experts, including Adrian Whitehead, a recognised national leader in climate action and founder of Council & Community Action in Climate Emergency CACE.
A broad media campaign and high-profile community events and actions are planned to follow. It's really important that we build community pressure on Council to make a CED. The target date for the campaign is early November 2021, to coincide with the major UN Climate Change Conference (COP26) in Glasgow. The climate talks will bring together heads of state, climate experts and campaigners to agree coordinated action to tackle climate change.
Support the campaign by signing the GetUp petition
Contact UCANSC at email@example.com or Fergus FitzGerald on 0458 880 572 to become involved, or for more information on the climate emergency declaration campaign.