Australia needs credible targets and policies to respond to the findings of the latest Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on global warming, the Climate Institute said today.
"The world's leading experts on climate science are telling us, once again, loud and clear, that the world is warming, and the burning of coal, oil, and gas is the primary cause," said Erwin Jackson, deputy CEO of the climate change thinktank.
"Among developed nations Australia is most exposed to climate risks. We have the technology, the wealth, and the talent to avoid dangerous climate change."
"But do we have the political will and the credible domestic policies? It is in our national interest to do what we can to help avoid 2C warming."
The latest IPCC report, released on Friday in Stockholm, confirms that Earth is warming at a rate unprecedented in human history, with the global temperature already having by almost 1C in the 20th and 21st centuries.
The Climate Institute summarized some of the implications of the new IPCC report contents.
With each degree of warming the risks to Australia rise. Amongst them: disease and injury from more frequent, hotter heatwaves and fires, infrastructure and business damage from more hostile weather, and erosion of food security and living standards in Australia and around the Asia-Pacific.
Earlier this week, the government reiterated its commitment to reducing emissions by up to 25 percent on 2000 levels by 2020.
"Only with a credible domestic policy can Australia help build global efforts. No independent assessment to-date had shown the government's policy can achieve even the weak minimum five percent target. Without clear limits on pollution Australia's emissions are highly likely to spiral upwards, making it much more expensive change course later," Jackson said.
"The government should retain the current carbon laws until it can demonstrate through independent analysis that is policy can achieve emission reductions of up to 25 percent by 2020."