“Unprecedented changes” are needed to stop global temperatures rising by more than 1.5 degrees and that is a worry for the Border’s climate change campaigners.
A report released on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change looked into the benefits of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees, rather than the projected 2 degrees.
On a global level, this could mean stopping sea levels rising by another 10 centimetres, and limiting the decline of coral reefs to between 70 and 90 per cent.
Wodonga Albury Toward Climate Health convenor Lizette Salmon said the IPCC report highlighted the need for decisive action.
“Locally we’ve had bushfires threatening Wodonga in December 2014 and 2015 and three significant blue green algae outbreaks along the Murray River in recent years,” she said.
“We’ll have worse and more frequent bushfires, droughts and blue green algae outbreaks at 1.5 degrees of warming, with huge implications for our economy, agriculture, health and tourism.
“At 2 degrees, it would be catastrophically worse.”
Living on the outskirts of Wodonga, Ms Salmon has twice in recent years had to pack up belongings because of the threat of serious bushfires which only narrowly missed her property because of a change in conditions.
“It’s a frightening time and that’s only going to be getting worse,” she said.
“We just feel that it’s a matter of time before it happens.”
The threat of blue green algae in the rivers could have serious consequences for water quality for both farmers and tourists who travel to the Border specifically for the river.
The Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5C was put together in a partnership between 91 authors from 40 countries.
It found that limiting global warming would require “rapid and far-reaching” changes in energy, industry and transport.
WATCH has criticised the federal government for a lack of climate change policy and member Bruce Key said “unprecedented, emergency-speed action” was needed.
“We need to transition to renewables as soon as possible, electrify transport and draw down carbon in the air by protecting existing forests, planting more forests and improving farming practices through regenerative agriculture, soil carbon sequestration and other techniques,” he said.
- Receive our daily newsletter straight to your inbox each morning from The Border Mail. Sign up here